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What's the damage? Environmental regulation with policy-motivated bureaucrats

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  • Voß, Achim
  • Lingens, Jörg

Abstract

Many environmental-policy problems are characterized by complexity and uncertainty. Government's choice concerning these policies commonly relies on information provided by a bureaucracy. Environmental bureaucrats often have a political motivation of their own, so they might be tempted to misreport environmental effects in order to influence policy. This transforms a problem of uncertainty into one of asymmetric information. We analyze the ensuing principal-agent relationship and derive the government's optimal contract, which conditions policy and rewards on reported environmental effects. We find that agents who are more environmentalist than the government are rewarded for admitting that the environmental impact is low (and vice versa). With higher uncertainty, the bureaucrat has a stronger influence on policy. For some values of the environmental impact, the bureau is permitted to set its own preferred policy (optimal delegation). --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM), University of Münster in its series CAWM Discussion Papers with number 67.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:cawmdp:67

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Related research

Keywords: Environmental Policy; Political Economy; Delegation; Bureaucracy; Regulatory Agency; Mechanism Design; Type-dependent Participation Constraint; Pure State Constraints in Optimal Control;

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  1. Spulber, Daniel F., 1988. "Optimal environmental regulation under asymmetric information," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 163-181, March.
  2. Matthias Messner & Mattias Polborn, 2003. "Paying Politicians," Working Papers 246, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  3. Jullien, Bruno, 2000. "Participation Constraints in Adverse Selection Models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 1-47, July.
  4. Muehlenbachs, Lucija & Staubli, Stefan & Cohen, Mark A., 2013. "The Effect of Inspector Group Size and Familiarity on Enforcement and Deterrence," IZA Discussion Papers 7876, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Kotakorpi, Kaisa & Poutvaara, Panu, 2011. "Pay for politicians and candidate selection: An empirical analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 877-885, August.
  6. Maggi G. & Rodriguez-Clare A., 1995. "On Countervailing Incentives," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 238-263, June.
  7. : Christian Schultz, . "The Politics of Persuasion when Voters are Rational," Discussion Papers 93-15, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  8. Martimort, David & Semenov, Aggey, 2007. "The pluralistic view of politics: Asymmetric lobbyists, ideological uncertainty and political entry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 155-161, November.
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