University of Maryland
3114 Tydings Hall
7343 Preinkert Dr.
College Park, MD 20742
Institutional Affiliation: University of Maryland
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|June 2020||Reciprocity versus Reelection|
with , : w27301
We study how reelection concerns affect reciprocity by elected leaders to the voters who elected them. If showing kindness to past voters reduces the chances of reelection, will an elected leader reduce or eliminate such intrinsic reciprocity? We present a signalling model of candidate behavior, where we show that candidates may limit intrinsic reciprocity to past voters to signal congruence with voters important for reelection, and selfish candidates may mimic reciprocal behavior for instrumental purposes. We then present an experiment that tests these ideas in the laboratory and finds support for the model. Both candidates and voters behave as the signalling model predicts. Our key finding is that the desire to be reelected may limit intrinsic reciprocity of an elected leader to the vote...