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Political authority, expertise and government bureaucracies


  • Miltiadis Makris



By applying the Revelation Principle, we focus on how a sponsor, who possesses political authority, could minimise the efficiency losses when bureaucrats are experts - that is, when they control information about the true costs of public services production. Our results come in striking contrast to those in the literature on bureaucracies and public procurement. In a two-types setting, and in the absence of monitoring and control mechanisms, we find that the agency is productively efficient. Under certain conditions, the agency is also allocatively efficient, while, under others, the low-cost bureau oversupplies and the high-cost agency undersupplies its output. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Suggested Citation

  • Miltiadis Makris, 2006. "Political authority, expertise and government bureaucracies," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 267-284, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:127:y:2006:i:3:p:267-284
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-006-0866-3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Francois, Patrick, 2000. "'Public service motivation' as an argument for government provision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 275-299, November.
    2. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2005. "Competition and Incentives with Motivated Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 616-636, June.
    3. Barbara Spencer, 1979. "Outside Information and the Degree of Monopoly Power of a Public Bureau," Working Papers 361, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    4. Johnson, Ronald N & Libecap, Gary D, 1982. "Contracting Problems and Regulation: The Case of the Fishery," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1005-1022, December.
    5. Makris, Miltiadis, 2009. "Incentives for motivated agents under an administrative constraint," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 428-440, August.
    6. Armstrong, Mark, 1996. "Multiproduct Nonlinear Pricing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(1), pages 51-75, January.
    7. Casas-Pardo, Jose & Puchades-Navarro, Miguel, 2001. "A Critical Comment on Niskanen's Model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 107(1-2), pages 147-167, April.
    8. 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 243-277, Fall.
    9. 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.
    10. De Fraja, Giovanni, 1993. "Productive efficiency in public and private firms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 15-30, January.
    11. Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The Economics of Career Concerns, Part II: Application to Missions and Accountability of Government Agencies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 199-217.
    12. Pauly, Mark V, 1987. "Nonprofit Firms in Medical Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 257-262, May.
    13. José Casas-Pardo & Miguel Puchades-Navarro, 2001. "A Critical Comment on Niskanen's Model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 107(1), pages 147-167, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Timo Goeschl & Johannes Jarke, 2013. "The warnings puzzle: an upstream explanation," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 339-360, December.
    2. Vasilev, Aleksandar, 2013. "On the cost of rent-seeking by government bureaucrats in a Real-Business-Cycle framework," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-84, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    3. Vasilev, Aleksandar, 2013. "Essays on Real Business Cycle Modeling and the Public Sector," EconStor Theses, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, number 130522.

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