Accountability with Large Electorates
journal contributionposted on 24.04.2020, 10:32 by R. Emre Aytimur, Christian Bruns
We show that ignorant voters can succeed in establishing high levels of electoral accountability. In our model, an incumbent politician is confronted with a large number of voters who receive fuzzy private signals about her performance. A sampling effect enables the incumbent to form a precise estimate of the median voter's signal, and the resulting level of accountability is as if the incumbent faced a perfectly informed social planner. Public information or ideological preferences can impair the beneficial impact of the sampling effect on accountability; overconfidence of voters can restore the full benefit of the sampling effect.