Social Identity and Electoral Accountability

Dimitri Landa, Dominik Duell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In a laboratory experiment, we explore the effects of group identities on the principal-agent relationship between voters and representatives. In an adverse selection framework with observable effort, voters can choose to condition their reelection choices on representatives' effort alone, beliefs about representatives' competence, or both of those jointly. We show that inducing social identities increases the weight of representatives' effort in voters' reelection decisions. Further, when voters and representatives share a social identity, representatives tend to invest less effort and their effort is independent of their competence. In contrast, "out-group" representatives compensate for lower competence with higher effort and reduce effort when voters are likely to perceive them as competent. Voters often adopt laxer retention standards for representatives who are fellow group members and are responsive to evidence of other-regardingness from out-group representatives, but some voters actively resist treating representatives with shared identity more favorably and "overcorrect" as a consequence.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)671-689
    Number of pages19
    JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Political Science and International Relations


    Dive into the research topics of 'Social Identity and Electoral Accountability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this