- Cite this article as:
- Lott, J.R. Public Choice (1987) 52: 169. doi:10.1007/BF00123875
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This paper shows that how a politician votes is unrelated to whether he faces re-election. This contradicts the universal agreement by economists that political behavior is constrained by the threat of re-election. Contrary to the existing work on ideology, I show that ideology can prevent rather than cause opportunistic behavior. My discussion of ideology can explain why the last period does not affect how a politician votes but only how often he votes. Besides providing an explanation for how politicians can internalize the long-run returns to investments through ideology, my results show that political parties have no effect on how retiring congressmen vote. Finally, I shall try to argue that politicians are search and not experience goods.