Working Paper No. 698

Political Rents in a Non-Corrupt Democracy

Published: February 16, 2007, revised March 26, 2008, and September 30, 2008Pages: 57Keywords: Accountability; Political Competition; Media; Political RentsJEL-codes: D72; H10; H70

Political Rents in a Non-Corrupt Democracy Helena Svaleryd and Jonas Vlachos


A fundamental problem in all political systems is that the people in power may extract rents to the detriment of the general public. In a democracy, electoral competition and information provided by the media may keep such rent extraction at bay. We develop a simple model where rents are decreasing in the degree of political competition and voter information. In line with our theoretical predictions, we find that both increased political competition and increased local media coverage substantially reduce direct measures of legal political rents among local governments in a non-corrupt democracy (Sweden).




Jonas Vlachos

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Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union in a Changing World Order

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This book explores how the European Union responds to the ongoing challenges to the liberal international order. These challenges arise both within the EU itself and beyond its borders, and put into question the values of free trade and liberal democracy. 

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