Shomron Center for Economic Policy Research

In Search for an efficient Institutions

“Universal Suffrage: The Century of Corrupting Incentives?”


Our paper “Universal Suffrage: The Century of Corrupting Incentives?” has been published (at long last) at Volume 14 of the New Perspectives on Political Economy (now on-line) – see pp. 63-89.

The paper could be downloaded from the SSRN web site also (separately from the whole NPPE Volume).

Conflict of interest of welfare dependent voter creates wrong incentives. These incentives inherent to universal suffrage, yield consequences, as predicted by John Adams back in the 18-th century. Historically the rise of the modern welfare state might be traced to the emergence of mainstream left parties, which promoted government care “from the cradle to the grave”. This paper will address the damages to Democracy caused by conflict of interest, which led to irresponsible leadership and permanent peacetime budget deficit. Historical examples from the 1990s show possible escapes from the trap of universal suffrage.

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