Working Paper 582

The Economics of Split-Ticket Voting in Representative Democracies

V. V. Chari | Consultant
Larry E. Jones | Visiting Scholar
Ramon Marimon

Published June 1, 1997

In U.S. elections, voters often vote for candidates from different parties for president and Congress. Voters also express dissatisfaction with the performance of Congress as a whole and satisfaction with their own representative. We develop a model of split-ticket voting in which government spending is financed by uniform taxes but the benefits from this spending are concentrated. While the model generates split-ticket voting, overall spending is too high only if the president’s powers are limited. Overall spending is too high in a parliamentary system, and our model can be used as the basis of an argument for term limits.

Published In: American Economic Review (Vol. 87, No. 5, December 1997, pp. 957-76)

Download Paper (pdf)