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Would you trust lobbies?

Author

Listed:
  • Pierre Fauvet

    (GREThA, UMR 5113, University of Bordeaux)

  • Sébastien Rouillon

    (GREThA, UMR 5113, University of Bordeaux)

Abstract

We consider the regulatory problem to approve or to ban a new product/technology in the context of scientific controversy about its detrimental environmental and/or health effects. We formalize the regulator’s decision-making process as a Tullock contest (Towards a Theory of the Rent-Seeking Society, Texas A&M University Press, Texas, 1980), the contestants being an industrial lobby, representing the economic agents who have developed the new product/technology, and an environmental lobby, representing the economic agents who will be harmed by the product or technology. Assuming that the industrial lobby has private information about the unfavorable environmental and/or health effects, but can be held liable for damage ex post, we derive the equilibrium properties of the contest. In particular, we derive conditions under which it is socially preferable for the regulator to decide according to the contest’s outcome, rather than according to an ex ante cost-benefit analysis, using his prior beliefs. We find that the contest outperforms the ex ante cost-benefit analysis only if the risk of judgment-proofness is not too high.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierre Fauvet & Sébastien Rouillon, 2016. "Would you trust lobbies?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 167(3), pages 201-219, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:167:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-016-0336-5
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-016-0336-5
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Contest model; Information asymmetry; Law and economics; Optimal regulation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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