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Hyperbolic Discounting and Politics: The beneficial effects of bureaucrats

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  • Marcus Drometer

Abstract

This paper introduces hyperbolic discounting into politics. In our model, politicians act according to the preferences of voters in order to be re-elected. As voters' preferences are dynamically inconsistent, the political process results in an allocation of the public budget that is distorted towards consumption ex- penditures. We show that this inefficiency is mitigated when the influence of bureaucrats who favour an excessive supply of public goods is taken into ac- count. Finally, we derive a positive relationship between the optimal level of a bureaucracy's influence and the relevance of long-term investments in a given policy area.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcus Drometer, 2006. "Hyperbolic Discounting and Politics: The beneficial effects of bureaucrats," Working Papers 008, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
  • Handle: RePEc:bav:wpaper:008_drometer
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    File URL: http://www.bgpe.de/texte/DP/008_drometer.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2004. "Self Control, Revealed Preferences and Consumption Choice," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(2), pages 243-264, April.
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    5. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 2003. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory and Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1176-1206, September.
    6. Besley, Timothy J. & Persson, Torsten & Sturm, Daniel M, 2005. "Political Competition and Economic Performance: Theory and Evidence from the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 5138, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
    8. Rauch, James E. & Evans, Peter B., 2000. "Bureaucratic structure and bureaucratic performance in less developed countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 49-71, January.
    9. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
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    12. Shi, Min & Svensson, Jakob, 2006. "Political budget cycles: Do they differ across countries and why?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1367-1389, September.
    13. Shapiro, Jesse M., 2005. "Is there a daily discount rate? Evidence from the food stamp nutrition cycle," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 303-325, February.
    14. Robert Barro, 1973. "The control of politicians: An economic model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 19-42, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political Agency; Hyperbolic Discounting; Bureaucracy;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government

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