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Producing and Manipulating Information

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  • Robert Dur
  • Otto H. Swank

Abstract

To reduce the chances of policy failures, policy makers need information about the effects of policies. Sometimes, policy makers can rely on agents who already possess the information. Often, the information has yet to be produced. This raises two problems. First, for a policy maker it is hard to ascertain how much effort an expert has put in acquiring information. Second, when the expert has an interest in the policy outcome, she may manipulate information to bring the policy decision more in line with her preferences. We show that experts who are unbiased toward the policy alternatives put highest effort in collecting information. Eliminating manipulation of information, however, requires that the preferences of the policy maker and the expert are aligned. Hence, when selecting an expert, policy makers face a trade-off. We show that policy makers optimally appoint experts with policy preferences which are less extreme than their own.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 908.

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Date of creation: 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_908

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  1. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1986. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 18-32, Spring.
  2. Vijay Krishna & John Morgan, 1999. "A Model of Expertise," Working Papers 154, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics..
  3. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Scholarly Articles 4554125, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Potters, Jan & van Winden, Frans, 1992. " Lobbying and Asymmetric Information," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 74(3), pages 269-92, October.
  5. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-51, November.
  6. Gilligan, Thomas W & Krehbiel, Keith, 1987. "Collective Decisionmaking and Standing Committees: An Informational Rationale for Restrictive Amendment Procedures," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 287-335, Fall.
  7. Gilligan, Thomas W & Krehbiel, Keith, 1997. "Specialization Decisions within Committee," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 366-86, October.
  8. Ottaviani, Marco & Sorensen, Peter, 2001. "Information aggregation in debate: who should speak first?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 393-421, September.
  9. Austen-Smith David, 1993. "Interested Experts and Policy Advice: Multiple Referrals under Open Rule," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 3-43, January.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Irene Valsecchi, 2013. "The expert problem: a survey," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 303-331, November.
  2. Gromb, Denis & Martimort, David, 2004. "The Organization of Delegated Expertise," CEPR Discussion Papers 4572, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Klaas J. Beniers, 2004. "On the Composition of Committees," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 353-378, October.
  4. Elisabeth Schulte, 2012. "Communication in committees: who should listen?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 97-117, January.
  5. Sylvain Bourjade & Bruno Jullien, 2011. "The roles of reputation and transparency on the behavior of biased experts," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(3), pages 575-594, 09.
  6. Gromb, Denis & Martimort, David, 2007. "Collusion and the organization of delegated expertise," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 271-299, November.
  7. repec:dgr:uvatin:2012134 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Zara Sharif & Otto H. Swank, 2012. "Do More Powerful Interest Groups have a Disproportionate Influence on Policy?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-134/VII, Tinbergen Institute.
  9. Wrasai, Phongthorn & Swank, Otto H., 2007. "Policy makers, advisers, and reputation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 62(4), pages 579-590, April.
  10. Flavia Roldán, 2013. "The organization of expertise in the presence of communication," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 63-81, March.
  11. John M. de Figueiredo & Charles M. Cameron, 2006. "Endogenous Cost Lobbying: Theory and Evidence," Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series d05-156, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
  12. Shun-ichiro Bessho & Kimiko Terai, 2013. "Fiscal restraints by advisors," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 205-232, August.
  13. Silvia Dominguez Martinez & Otto H. Swank, 2004. "Polarization, Information Collection and Electoral Control," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-035/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  14. Di Maggio, Marco, 2009. "Accountability and Cheap Talk," MPRA Paper 18652, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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