Abstract

How well any government functions hinges on how good citizens are at making their politicians accountable for their actions. Political control of public officials depends on two factors. First, free and regular elections allow citizens to discipline politicians—the credible threat of losing office in the next period compels policy makers to respond to the voters' interests. Second, and equally important, the degree of citizen information curbs the opportunities politicians may have to engage in political corruption and management. The presence of a well-informed electorate in a democratic setting explains between one-half and two-thirds of the variance in the levels of governmental performance and corruption.

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