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Bureaucrats or Politicians? Part I: A Single Policy Task

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  • Alberto Alesina
  • Guido Tabellini

Abstract

This paper investigates the normative criteria that guide the allocation of a policy task to an elected politician versus an independent bureaucrat. The bureaucrat is preferable for technical tasks for which ability is more important than effort, or if there is great uncertainty about whether the policymaker has the required abilities. The optimal allocation of redistributive tasks is ambiguous, and depends on how the bureaucrat can be instructed. But irrespective of the normative conclusion, the politician prefers not to delegate redistributive policies. (JEL D72, D73, D82)

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Paper provided by David K. Levine in its series Levine's Working Paper Archive with number 321307000000000870.

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Date of creation: 14 Mar 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:321307000000000870

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  1. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482 Elsevier.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "Bureaucrats or Politicians?," NBER Working Papers 10241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  4. Eric Maskin & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government," Economics Working Papers 0020, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  5. Besley, Timothy J. & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2004. "Competition and Incentives with Motivated Agents," CEPR Discussion Papers 4641, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The economics of career concerns: part 1 :comparing information structures," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9617, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  7. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 2003. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1176-1206, 09.
  8. Christian Schultz, 2003. "Information, Polarization and Delegation in Democracy," EPRU Working Paper Series 03-16, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  9. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-89, November.
  10. Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The economics of career concerns: part 2 :application to missions and accountability of government agencies," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9641, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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