The Politics of Blame Avoidance

  title={The Politics of Blame Avoidance},
  author={R. Kent Weaver},
  journal={Journal of Public Policy},
  • R. Weaver
  • Published 1 October 1986
  • Political Science
  • Journal of Public Policy
Politicians are motivated primarily by the desire to avoid blame for unpopular actions rather than by seeking to claim credit for popular ones. This results from voters' ‘negativity bias’: their tendency to be more sensitive to real or potential losses than they are to gains. Incentives to avoid blame lead politicians to adopt a distinctive set of political strategies, including agenda limitation, scapegoating, ‘passing the buck’ and defection (‘jumping on the bandwagon’) that are… 

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