Political selection and the optimal concentration of political power

  • Andreas Grunewald
  • Emanuel HansenEmail author
  • Gert Pönitzsch
Research Article


We study how policy choice and political selection are affected by the concentration of political power. In a setting with inefficient policy gambles, variations in power concentration give rise to a trade-off. On the one hand, power-concentrating institutions allocate more power to the voters’ preferred candidate. On the other hand, they induce the adoption of more overly risky policies and decrease the voters’ capability to select well-suited politicians. We show that full concentration of power is optimal if and only if the conflict of interest between voters and politicians is small. Otherwise, an intermediate level of power concentration is optimal.


Elections Constitutional design Selection Asymmetric information 

JEL Classification

D72 D82 H11 


Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and Business AdministrationGoethe-UniversityFrankfurt am MainGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Applied MicroeconomicsUniversity of BonnBonnGermany
  3. 3.Center for Macroeconomic ResearchUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  4. 4.Department of EconomicsHeidelberg UniversityHeidelbergGermany

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