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The Optimal State Aid Control: No Control

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Abstract

We extend a model of wasteful state aid in Dewatripont and Seabright (2006, Journal of the European Economic Association 4, 513--522) by a supranational controlling authority. The model combines moral hazard and adverse selection to show that politicians fund wasteful projects to signal their effort. Voters, unable to observe project benefits or effort, reward funding with a reelection premium that separates a high-effort politician from a low-effort politician. We examine state aid control by a benevolent authority which receives extra signals about the state of the world. We find that signals on the politician type are worthless. For signals on the project type, we derive a sufficient condition for aid control to unambiguously decrease welfare. We also prove that politicians do not respond to marginal changes in incentives. In this setup, the optimal state aid control is fairly often no control.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies in its series Working Papers IES with number 2009/14.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2009
Date of revision: Mar 2009
Handle: RePEc:fau:wpaper:wp2009_14

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Keywords: state aid; signaling; career concerns; aid control;

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  1. Mathias Dewatripont & Paul Seabright, 2006. ""Wasteful" Public Spending and State Aid Control," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 513-522, 04-05.
  2. Richard E. Baldwin & Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2007. "Entry and asymmetric lobbying: why governments pick losers," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19726, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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  14. David R Collie, 2005. "State aid to investment and R&D," European Economy - Economic Papers 231, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  15. Adi Brender & Allan Drazen, 2008. "How Do Budget Deficits and Economic Growth Affect Reelection Prospects? Evidence from a Large Panel of Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2203-20, December.
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  17. Hans Gersbach, 2004. "The money-burning refinement: With an application to a political signalling game," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 67-87, January.
  18. Dixit, Avinash, 1984. "International Trade Policy for Oligopolistic Industries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376a), pages 1-16, Supplemen.
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