Public Choice

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 169–186

Political cheating

  • John R. LottJr.

DOI: 10.1007/BF00123875

Cite this article as:
Lott, J.R. Public Choice (1987) 52: 169. doi:10.1007/BF00123875


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.

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • John R. LottJr.
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Hoover InstitutionStanford UniversityStanford
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural Economics and EconomicsMontana State UniversityBozeman

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