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Who Surfs, Who Manipulates? The Determinants of Opportunistic Election Timing and Electorally Motivated Economic Intervention

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 April 2005

MARK ANDREAS KAYSER
Affiliation:
University of Rochester and University of Oxford

Abstract

In this paper, I develop a career concerns model of government policy choice within a dynamic optimal stopping framework to predict the degree of surfing (opportunistic timing) and manipulation (politically motivated economic intervention) under alternate institutional structures. Among other results, I find that the likelihood of opportunistic elections rises with exogenous economic performance, with longer maximum term lengths, with future electoral uncertainty, and with economic volatility but diminishes in the value of office-holding; manipulation increases with the maximum term length and with the value of office-holding but decreases with exogenous economic performance and with economic volatility. The model suggests that single-party governments should be highly opportunistic in calling elections and that countries that allow opportunistic election timing should experience less economically distortionary political intervention than their fixed-timing counterparts.

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ARTICLES
Copyright
© 2005 by the American Political Science Association

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