The good, the bad and the populist: a model of political agency with emotional voters

Colin Jennings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This paper extends the political agency approach to an environment in which voting is categorised into informed and instrumental, informed and ‘expressive’, and uninformed due to‘rational irrationality’. Politicians may be “good”, “bad”, or “populist”. Initially the existence of only good and populist politicians is assumed: the incentives for good politicians to pool with or separate from populists are investigated and the implications for voter welfare are explored.
Then the consequences of the inclusion of bad politicians are considered. The paper makes three main contributions. First, I provide a rational choice analysis of populism as populism is commonly understood. Second, I locate a potential role for government as a persuasive provider of information regarding the quality of policy. Third, when bad politicians are added tothe analysis, it is shown that a little potential corruption can improve voter welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-624
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Economy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • political agency
  • expressive voting
  • rational irrationality
  • democratic inefficiency
  • populism


Dive into the research topics of 'The good, the bad and the populist: a model of political agency with emotional voters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this