ABSTRACT

From a rational choice perspective, politics is understood as a market (Downs 1957) where parties offer policy choices and voters buy those choices by giving their votes to the party they like best. This view has been harshly criticised and is still hotly debated (see Wood and Oliver 2012 for an overview). Especially, two central assumptions for the economic model of democracy are challenged: The fi rst assumption is that voters are well informed about the choices the parties have to offer. Additionally, voters are expected to be perfectly informed about the parties, their policies, their own current situation and the possible ramifi cations for their future well-being triggered by potential political change. The second – and even more important – assumption is that the parties are not honest in proposing their policies. The model expects that a party seeks to maximize its vote share at election day, thus it is open for parties committing ‘fraud’ by either implementing policies it did not propose before the election or by not implementing policies it originally committed to. It seems reasonable for parties to act in this way, because policies with a negative impact on the public may hurt the party at the polls in the next election.