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A Servant of Two Masters: Communication and the Selection of International Bureaucrats

  • Johns, Leslie
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    International bureaucrats must often serve multiple principals who collectively choose policy. How does this affect bureaucrats incentives to truthfully reveal their private information? I construct a cheap talk model in which a bureaucrat possesses private information about how policies translate into outcomes. The bureaucrat can communicate publicly observable messages about this information to two policymakers, who must then bargain over a set of policy choices. I find that both the bureaucrat s willingness to communicate informatively and the choice of an optimal bureaucrat are highly contingent on the bargaining powers of the two policymakers. When each policymaker is bound to adhere to the bargaining outcome, moderate bureaucrats are most preferred. In contrast, when at least one policymaker can leave the bargaining table and exercise an outside option, biased bureaucrats can be optimal. I illustrate my findings by examining UN weapons inspections in Iraq from 1991 to 2003.

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    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal International Organization.

    Volume (Year): 61 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 02 (April)
    Pages: 245-275

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:61:y:2007:i:02:p:245-275_07
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Cambridge University Press, UPH, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8BS UK
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