Clarity of Responsibility and Electoral Accountability: Evidence From Local Tax Policy in Denmark
An important difference among representative democracies lies in the extent to which governing politicians are clearly responsible for policy-making. Research shows that this affects whether voters punish and reward politicians for policy outcomes. In this article, we explore whether politicians recognize this and become more likely to enact the policies voters electorally reward. To estimate the causal effect of clarity of responsibility on politicians’ behavior, we exploit an electoral discontinuity in responsibility for local tax policy in Denmark—a salient policy area. Even though voters hold local politicians more accountable for tax policy when they become more clearly responsible, we find that politicians leave taxes unchanged. However, local tax rates still decrease in response to increases in clarity of responsibility, but only after voters get a chance to unseat the parties who raise taxes. Our findings thus suggest that politicians are unresponsive to more subtle changes in electoral incentives, yet policy remains responsive because of electoral selection.
Date: 15 January 2019, 12:30 (Tuesday, 1st week, Hilary 2019)
Venue: Nuffield College, New Road OX1 1NF
Venue Details: Clay Room
Speaker: Professor Professor Martin Vinæs Larsen (Aarhus University)
Organising department: Nuffield College
Organisers: Professor Desmond King (University of Oxford), Ben Ansell (University of Oxford)
Organiser contact email address:
Part of: Nuffield College Political Science Seminars
Booking required?: Not required
Audience: Members of the University only
Editor: Maxine Collett