Elections and Deceptions: Theory and Experimental Evidence
Michel André Maréchal
The virtue of democratic elections has traditionally been seen in their role as a means of screening and sanctioning shirking public officials. This paper proposes a novel rationale for elections and political campaigns by considering heterogeneity in candidates' aversion to lying. We analyze theoretically and experimentally how democratic elections and campaigns influence the behavior of voters and their representatives. Our main insight is that candidates behave more benevolently when democratically elected than when exogenously appointed. Moreover, the results show that candidates feel more obliged to serve the public interest the higher their approval ratings are. Together, our results suggest that electoral competition and campaigns confer benefits beyond their function as a screening and sanctioning device.
Costs of Lying, Electoral Competition, Laboratory Experiment
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