Political Conflict over Time

William Howell, Stefan Krasa, Mattias Polborn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study a model of electoral competition in which politicians must decide whether to initiate the provision of some public good and, afterward, how much of the public good to supply. The model illuminates how a project's implementation affects elections and, conversely, how electoral considerations influence decisions about implementation. Under well-defined conditions, politicians will either implement projects that they do not like or delay projects that, absent electoral concerns, they would support. The model further reveals how the perceived benefits of holding office can impede the production of public goods about which there is broad consensus. And depending on facts about the program's structure and the electoral landscape, a policy's implementation can either mitigate or exacerbate political conflict.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-568
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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