“Representation Failure,” Matias Iaryczower, Princeton University

Event time: 
Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:15pm
Institution for Social and Policy Studies (PROS77 ), A002 See map
77 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 


Abstract: We use rich data on thousands of candidates in three Brazilian legislative elections to (i) quantify the relative value voters place on candidates’ policy positions and valence attributes, (ii) evaluate voters’ welfare given the set of candidates they face, and (iii) explain when and why candidates choose policy positions that diverge from voters’ preferences. We find that the “supply side” of politics imposes large welfare losses on Brazilian voters: in half of the country, average voter welfare is at least 80% lower than an ideal benchmark. Through counterfactual experiments, we show that institutional reforms aimed at improving the quality of representation may have sizable unintended consequences, due to equilibrium policy adjustments.

Matias Iaryczower is Associate Professor of Politics and Director of the Research Program in Political Economy at Princeton University. His field of research is political economy using game theory and empirical methods to study how institutions and strategic considerations shape collective decision-making in courts, legislatures, and elections. One of the main lines of Matias’ theoretical research is the study of Power and Bargaining in Collective Bodies: the determinants of the power of leaders in organization, the role of intermediaries in legislative bargaining, and whether competition between principals for influence over a group can be detrimental to its members. His empirical work builds on the Structural Estimation approach. A key theme of of his work in this area has been to understand how groups incorporate information and the relative merits of the alternatives under consideration into the decision-making process. His current empirical research focuses on the estimation of dynamic games in Congress and elections.

This workshop series is being sponsored by the ISPS Center for the Study of American Politics and The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale with support from the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Fund.

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