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Hyperbolic Discounting and Politics: The beneficial effects of bureaucrats

Listed author(s):
  • Marcus Drometer

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.

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File URL: http://www.bgpe.de/texte/DP/008_drometer.pdf
File Function: First version, 2006
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE) in its series Working Papers with number 008.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2006
Handle: RePEc:bav:wpaper:008_drometer
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.bgpe.de/

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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.
  2. Edwards, Jeremy & Keen, Michael, 1996. "Tax competition and Leviathan," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 113-134, January.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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, 09.
  7. 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.
  8. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2005. "Behavioral Public Economics: Welfare and Policy Analysis with Non-Standard Decision-Makers," NBER Working Papers 11518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Fernandez, Raquel & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Resistance to Reform: Status Quo Bias in the Presence of Individual-Specific Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1146-1155, December.
  10. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  11. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
  12. William D. Nordhaus, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 169-190.
  13. Fuest, Clemens, 2000. "The Political Economy of Tax Coordination as a Bargaining Game between Bureaucrats and Politicians," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 103(3-4), pages 357-382, June.
  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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