Electoral control over policy-motivated candidates and their policy biases

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present an election model employing candidates with policy preferences, and show how re-election pressure induces candidates to keep their campaign promises in finitely repeated competitions. The game consists of two periods, each of which comprises an election followed by the winner's policy implementation. Following the first election, the incumbent may signal his dishonesty by implementing a policy different from his campaign promise. If the citizens care about political honesty, this choice reduces the incumbent's probability of re-election. An equilibrium is derived which demonstrates that even with term limits, an elected candidate's deviation from his campaign promise is controlled by the citizens' monitoring of his performance. Strong public response to the dishonesty of politicians thus serves as a commitment device.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-64
Number of pages22
JournalEconomics of Governance
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Electoral competition
  • Policy bias
  • Policy-motivated candidates
  • Re-election pressure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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