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Nonmajoritarian Institutions and the Limits of Democratic Governance: A Political Transaction-Cost Approach

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  • Giandomenico Majone
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    Abstract

    This paper is a first step towards a positive theory of nonmajoritarian institutions. Delegation of powers to such institutions is best understood as a means of reducing certain political transaction costs. The precise nature of the relation between political sovereign and independent delegate has not been carefully investigated. Both economists and political scientists tend to rely on the available results of principal-agent theory. This paper shows why this approach is not entirely satisfactory. While the key problems of agency theory - hidden action and hidden information - are present in any relation based on specialisation and the division of labour, they are not central to the context investigated here. Instead, I argue that the fiduciary principle should be recognised as the central element in the governance structure of nonmajoritarian institutions.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen in its journal Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics.

    Volume (Year): 157 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 1 (March)
    Pages: 57-

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    Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(200103)157:1_57:niatlo_2.0.tx_2-v

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    1. > Political Economy
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    Cited by:
    1. Anne Aaken, 2009. "Independent electoral management bodies and international election observer missions: any impact on the observed level of democracy? A conceptual framework," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 296-322, September.
    2. Axel Dreher & Stefan Voigt, 2008. "Does Membership in International Organizations Increase Governments’ Credibility? Testing the Effects of Delegating Powers," KOF Working papers 08-193, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    3. Giandomenico Majone, 2002. "International Economic Integration, National Autonomy, Transnational Democracy: An Impossible Trinity?," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 48, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
    4. Xosé Carlos Arias & Gonzalo Caballero, 2003. "Instituciones, costos de transacción y políticas públicas: un panorama," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 5(8), pages 117-146, January-J.
    5. repec:onb:oenbwp:y::i:133:b:1 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Gonzalo Caballero Miguez, 2006. "The industrial organization of Congress in USA and Spain: a comparative institutional analysis," Revista de Analisis Economico – Economic Analysis Review, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines, vol. 21(2), pages 105-123, December.
    7. Abbott, Malcolm & Ma, Xiaoying, 2013. "The regulatory governance of the telecommunication and electricity industries in small, island nations," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 7-16.
    8. Richard Bellamy, 2010. "The Liberty of the Post-Moderns? Market and Civic Freedom within the EU," LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series 01, European Institute, LSE.
    9. Antonio Afonso & Carla Scaglioni, 2006. "An Assessment of Telecommunications Regulation Performance in the European Union," Working Papers Department of Economics 2006/07, ISEG - School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, University of Lisbon.
    10. Antonio Lorenzo, 2003. "The Role of Interest Groups in the European Union Decision-Making Process," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 251-261, May.
    11. Anja Zorob, 2007. "The Potential of Regional Integration Agreements (RIAs) in Enhancing the Credibility of Reform: The Case of the Syrian-European Association Agreement," GIGA Working Paper Series 51, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.

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