Actors Behaving Badly • What do you do? • Change incentives and constraints • Change institutions • Change rules of the game
Example: Elections Candidates and elected officials’ behavior in a single-member-district, plurality (winner take all) system. You get two parties You get centrist parties
Policy Position Democrat Republican μ
Pathologies of Congressional Elections • Large districts/Drawn districts • Low Voter Turnout • Incumbency advantage • Pork Barrel Politics • Short term local interest vs. long term national interest • Special Interest Influence
Solutions? Changing institutional rules • Term limits • Campaign Finance Reform • Nevada: full-time legislature • Line-item veto • Proportional Representation
Increase # of members in U.S. House • Germany, Brazil, Russia, Japan, Mexico, Fance, Italy, UK, Poland, all have more members even though they have smaller populations • Prior to 1915, the House grew in tandem with the population
Only India (a nation of over 1 billion people) has more constituents per representative than the U.S. • Has the U.S. become the second most “under-representative” democracy in the world?
Voter Turnout More Parties (oh no!!!) More perspectives included More distinctive parties Party/Issue centered campaigns More descriptive representation Citizens more satisfied
How do we get more parties? Single member plurality (SMP) districts needs to go Need new voting mechanism • Proportional Representation • Single Transferable Vote • Cumulative Voting
Incumbent advantage Term limits (good) • Creates more “open” seats • Women and Minorities have found it easier to get elected • Legislators more likely to support policies for the good of their state, not just their district
Term limits (bad) Only wealthy people can take time off of career and server for 2 terms. Do we want to make popular, hard working legislators leave?
Term limits (bad) How do you act when you know you are going to leave office? Weakens Parties, who becomes the party leader if you only stay on for 2, 3 terms. No one with institutional history of how things are done. Strengthens bureaucracy
Limiting the Influence of Money • Transparency: Disclosure of sources of money and information • Public subsidies to parties • Limits on expenditures and contributions • Force networks to give reduced cost/free TV time
Public Subsidies • Benefit: Reduce dependence on large contributions to individuals • Example: Minnesota • 53% of publicly funded candidates win • Citizen control • Helpful to third parties (Jesse “the body” Ventura)
Limits on Spending • Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act • No issue ads within 60 days of election • Disclosure of source of funds for ads • Limits contributions from certain PACs to candidates and parties
Free TV ads • Networks made almost $1 billion in 2000 • Charge candidates more than the standard rates. So? • Senator Toricelli (D-NY) proposal approved by Senate to regulate prices • Broadcasters donated over $1.5 million and the House kills the proposal.