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The Impression of InfluenceLegislator Communication, Representation, and Democratic Accountability$
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Justin Grimmer, Sean J. Westwood, and Solomon Messing

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691162614

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691162614.001.0001

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Credit, Deception, and Institutional Design

Credit, Deception, and Institutional Design

(p.121) Chapter 6 Credit, Deception, and Institutional Design
The Impression of Influence

Justin Grimmer

Sean J. Westwood

Solomon Messing

Princeton University Press

This chapter shows how legislators—with the help of a subtle linguistic deception and strategic bureaucrats—claim credit for grants that the representative had only an indirect role in securing. Bureaucrats create credit-claiming opportunities to cultivate support for their program, particularly when the bureaucrats are otherwise unable to manipulate grant decisions. Legislators take advantage of the opportunity to announce the expenditure, while never explicitly taking credit. This linguistic deception is effective, leading constituents to believe that legislators who only “announce” a grant are responsible for securing it. Once it is revealed that legislators are only implying they deserve credit, however, legislators' credit is decimated.

Keywords:   linguistic deception, bureaucrats, credit claiming, grant decisions, expenditure

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