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Seeking information: the role of information providers in the policy decision process

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  • Swank Otto H.

    (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Tinbergen Institute)

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    Abstract

    The consequences of many policies are complicated and difficult to foresee. Those who are capable of providing information to policy makers often have a vested interest in the outcomes. This gives them an incentive to distort information to manipulate policy decisions. In this article we argue that reputation or penalties for lying do not always induce information providers to tell the truth. Rather than relying on interested parties, policy makers can create public agencies to collect information about policy consequences. This has the advantage that policy makers can affect the preferences of the information provider. The drawback is that public agencies must exert efforts to collect information. We argue that policy makers create public agencies whose preferences deviates from their own preferences.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Public Economics with number 0004004.

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    Length: 23 pages
    Date of creation: 24 May 2000
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:0004004

    Note: Type of Document - WordPerfect; pages: 23
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    Web page: http://128.118.178.162

    Related research

    Keywords: Advice; uncertainty; cheap talk; interested parties;

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    References

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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. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 95-8, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    3. Swank, Otto H & Letterie, Wilko & van Dalen, Hendrik P, 1999. "A Theory of Policy Advice," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(3), pages 602-14, October.
    4. V. Crawford & J. Sobel, 2010. "Strategic Information Transmission," Levine's Working Paper Archive 544, David K. Levine.
    5. Letterie, Wilko & Swank, Otto H, 1997. " Learning and Signalling by Advisor Selection," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 92(3-4), pages 353-67, September.
    6. Hopenhayn, Hugo & Lohmann, Susanne, 1996. "Fire-Alarm Signals and the Political Oversight of Regulatory Agencies," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 196-213, April.
    7. Potters, J.J.M. & Winden, F. van, 1992. "Lobbying and asymmetric information," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-223989, Tilburg University.
    8. 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.
    9. Swank, Otto H., 2000. "Policy advice, secrecy, and reputational concerns," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 257-271, June.
    10. McCubbins, Mathew D & Noll, Roger G & Weingast, Barry R, 1987. "Administrative Procedures as Instruments of Political Control," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 243-77, Fall.
    11. Lupia, Arthur & McCubbins, Mathew D, 1994. "Learning from Oversight: Fire Alarms and Police Patrols Reconstructed," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 96-125, April.
    12. Breton, Albert & Wintrobe, Ronald, 1975. "The Equilibrium Size of a Budget-maximizing Bureau: A Note on Niskanen's Theory of Bureaucracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 195-207, February.
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