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Expertise, Subversion, and Bureaucratic Discretion

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  • Sean Gailmard
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    Abstract

    This article examines a legislature's delegation of policy-making authority to an imperfectly controlled, expert bureaucrat. The legislature can reduce the bureaucrat's expertise advantage through costly investigations of its own before delegating. Further, the bureaucrat is granted discretionary bounds by the legislature, but can subvert legislative dictates by stepping beyond them at some cost. I analyze the interaction of preference divergence, investigation cost to the legislature, and subversion cost to the bureaucrat on the decision to delegate. The model shows that, because of the equilibrium effect of subversion on discretion, bureaucrats will want subversion of legislative dictates to be difficult, while legislators want it to be relatively easy. It also highlights an indirect effect between preference divergence and discretion: preference divergence leads the legislature to become more expert on policy matters, which leads it to delegate less. Copyright 2002, Oxford University Press.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization.

    Volume (Year): 18 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 2 (October)
    Pages: 536-555

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:18:y:2002:i:2:p:536-555

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    Cited by:
    1. Brandsma, Gijs Jan, 2013. "Bending the rules: Arrangements for sharing technical and political information between the EU institutions," European Integration online Papers (EIoP), European Community Studies Association Austria (ECSA-A), vol. 17, 07.
    2. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 2006. "Separation of Powers and the Budget Process," NBER Working Papers 12332, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Callander, Steven & Kreibiel, Keith, 2012. "Gridlock and Delegation in a Changing World," Research Papers 2100, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    4. Heyes, Anthony & Kapur, Sandeep, 2009. "Enforcement missions: Targets vs budgets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 129-140, September.
    5. Peter Grajzl, 2011. "A property rights approach to legislative delegation," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 177-200, June.
    6. Tsung-Sheng Tsai & Yasunari Tamada, 2004. "Allocation of Decision-Making Authority with Principal's Reputation Concerns," Econometric Society 2004 Far Eastern Meetings 701, Econometric Society.
    7. Tamada, Yasunari & Tsai, Tsung-Sheng, 2009. "The Allocation of Decision-Making Authority when Principal has Reputation Concerns," MPRA Paper 20225, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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