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Title: Political Accountability and Misinformation
Author: Camargo, Braz
Karpuska, Laura
Lorecchio, Caio Paes Leme
Keywords: Responsabilitat política
Ministerial responsibility
Issue Date: 2023
Series/Report no: [WP E-Eco23/460]
Abstract: What are the impacts of misinformation on political accountability? We address this question in a political career concerns framework with belief misspecification. In our model, an incumbent politician of an unknown ability seeks to maximize reelection chances by putting costly effort into the provision of a public good. Citizens agree ex-ante on how to interpret the outcomes of the incumbent's effort. However, some of them disagree on how to interpret other signals. Specifically, some voters incorrectly believe that a confounding signal is informative about the incumbent's ability, while others correctly understand that they are completely uninformative. This misspecification on this signal leads to ex-post disagreement on how successful the incumbent should be in providing the public good to secure a reelection. We consider both an intensive margin and an extensive margin of informational disagreement, that is, (i) how much the beliefs of citizens with learning misspecification differ from the beliefs of citizens with a correct learning model, and (ii) how much misspecified citizens represent in the composition of society. We characterize the impact of informational disagreement on effective accountability (the effort provided by the incumbent in equilibrium). Our analysis not only identifies situations in which misinformation impacts negatively the social contributions of elected governments, but also – perhaps counter-intuitively, situations in which misinformation increases political accountability.
It is part of: UB Economics – Working Papers, 2023 E23/460
Appears in Collections:UB Economics – Working Papers [ERE]

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