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Bureaucratic Advice and Political Governance

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  • Robin Boadway

    (Department of Economics, Queen’s University)

  • Motohiro Sato

    ()
    (Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy, Hitotsubashi University)

Abstract

Politicians typically do not know what policies are best for achieving their broad objectives, so rely on bureaucrats for advice. Bureaucrats are better informed, so can manipulate outcomes by proposing policies that suit their interests. We capture this conflict of interests using a model of political decision-making that focuses on the interaction between politicians and the bureaucracies that advise them. In the basic model, a representative bureaucrat, knowing the characteristics of a given project, recommends to a representative politician whether to adopt it. If the politician chooses to adopt the project, its characteristics are revealed ex post. On the basis of the revealed outcome, the politician decides whether to discipline the bureaucrat. The bureaucrat anticipates imperfectly the chances of discipline when making an ex ante recommendation. When project characteristics are multi-dimensional, the politician can choose whether to seek advice from one bureaucrat or more than one. We compare outcomes in these centralized and decentralized regimes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations in its series Working Papers with number 2006-03.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifr:wpaper:2006-03

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  1. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "Bureaucrats or Politicians?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1130, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Hao Li & Wing Suen, 2004. "Delegating Decisions to Experts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S311-S335, February.
  3. Banks, J.S., 1990. "Two-Sided Uncertainty In The Monopoly Agenda Setter Model," RCER Working Papers 215, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  4. Banks, Jeffrey S, 1990. "Monopoly Agenda Control and Asymmetric Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 445-64, May.
  5. Hao Li & Sherwin Rosen & Wing Suen, 1999. "Conflicts and Common Interests in Committees," NBER Working Papers 7158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1978. "Political resource allocation, controlled agendas, and the status quo," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 27-43, December.
  7. Canice Prendergast, 2003. "The Limits of Bureaucratic Efficiency," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 929-958, October.
  8. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-51, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Marina Dodlova, 2013. "Political Accountability and Real Authority of Government Bureaucracy," CESifo Working Paper Series 4443, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Hikaru Ogawa & David Wildasin, 2007. "Think Locally, Act Locally: Spillovers, Spillbacks, and Efficient Decentralized Policymaking," Working Papers 2007-06, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
  3. Christos Kotsogiannis & Robert Schwager, 2006. "Fiscal Equalization and Yardstick Competition," Working Papers 2006-15, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
  4. Robin Boadway & Jean-Francois Tremblay, 2006. "A Theory of Vertical Fiscal Imbalance," Working Papers 1072, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  5. David Wildasin, 2007. "Pre-Emption: Federal Statutory Intervention in State Taxation," Working Papers 2007-05, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.

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