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By Milo Manara

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If the changed conditions render the policies announced in the campaign inappropriate, the good representative will violate mandates and change course. She will violate the mandate in order to be a good representative. Under both scenarios, the O’Donnell thesis, that violations of mandates indicate unrepresentative governments, is false. Finally, consider a politician who runs for president convinced that efficiency-oriented policies will greatly improve the health of the economy. A few tough years are in store, but before his term has expired, growth will resume.

Rep. 1982 1986 1990 1994 Security Security Security Vague Efficiency Security Efficiency dk Yes No Yes No 14 Elections, Mandates, and Representation Policy Orientation Country Year Campaign Government Switch? Ecuador 1984 1988 1992 Efficiency Security Security Efficiency Efficiency Efficiency No Yes Yes El Salvador 1984 1989 1994 Security Efficiency Efficiency Security Efficiency Efficiency No No No Guatemala 1985 1990 1995 Vague Vague Efficiency Efficiency Efficiency Efficiency No No No Honduras 1985 1989 1993 dk Efficiency Security Efficiency Efficiency Security dk No No Nicaragua 1990 Efficiency Efficiency No Peru 1985 1990 1995 Security Security Efficiency Security Efficiency Efficiency No Yes No Uruguay 1984 1989 1994 Security Efficiency Efficiency Security Efficiency Efficiency No No No Venezuela 1983 1988 1993 Security Security Security Security Efficiency Efficiency No Yes Yes Note: dk, don’t know.

Yet if some politicians dissimulate and others reveal their intentions, voters will pick up clues about future policy from campaigns, as well as other useful information, and hence will rationally pay attention to them. The thrust of this excursion into models of political economy is to resolve our strategic puzzle – if governments want to win reelection, why would they change course after their campaigns and impose unpopular policies? – by positing bad governments that will occasionally come to power and violate mandates.

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