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Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making

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  • Dixit, Avinash
  • Grossman, Gene M
  • Helpman, Elhanan

Abstract

The authors develop a model of common agency with complete information and general preferences with nontransferable utility, and they prove that the principals' Nash equilibrium in truthful strategies implements an efficient action. The authors apply this theory to the construction of a positive model of public finance, where organized special interests can lobby the government for consumer and producer taxes or subsidies and targeted lump-sum taxes or transfers. The lobbies use only the nondistorting transfers in their noncooperative equilibrium, but their intergroup competition for transfers turns into a prisoners' dilemma in which the government captures all the gain that is potentially available to the parties. Copyright 1997 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Dixit, Avinash & Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1997. "Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 752-769, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:105:y:1997:i:4:p:752-69
    DOI: 10.1086/262092
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31.
    2. Dixit, Avinash & Londregan, John, 1995. "Redistributive Politics and Economic Efficiency," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 89(4), pages 856-866, December.
    3. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production: I--Production Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 8-27, March.
    4. Coate, Stephen & Morris, Stephen, 1995. "On the Form of Transfers in Special Interests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1210-1235, December.
    5. Peter J. Hammond, 1979. "Straightforward Individual Incentive Compatibility in Large Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(2), pages 263-282.
    6. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production II: Tax Rules," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 261-278, June.
    7. Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400.
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