Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 707–734 | Cite as

Corruption and power in democracies

  • Francesco Giovannoni
  • Daniel J. SeidmannEmail author
Original Paper


We study the implications of Acton’s dictum that power corrupts when citizens vote (for three parties) and governments then form in a series of elections. In each election, parties have fixed tastes for graft, which affect negotiations to form a government if parliament hangs; but incumbency changes tastes across elections. Our model entails various plausible predictions about long-run patterns of government. Acton’s dictum results in possible government turnover, and in different predictions about possible government composition: for example, that the grand coalition may form.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and CMPOUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  2. 2.School of EconomicsNottingham UniversityNottinghamUK

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