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Producing and Manipulating Information

  • Robert Dur
  • Otto H. Swank

To reduce the chances of policy failures, policy makers need information about the effects of policies. Sometimes, policy makers can rely on agents who already possess the information. Often, the information has yet to be produced. This raises two problems. First, for a policy maker it is hard to ascertain how much effort an expert has put in acquiring information. Second, when the expert has an interest in the policy outcome, she may manipulate information to bring the policy decision more in line with her preferences. We show that experts who are unbiased toward the policy alternatives put highest effort in collecting information. Eliminating manipulation of information, however, requires that the preferences of the policy maker and the expert are aligned. Hence, when selecting an expert, policy makers face a trade-off. We show that policy makers optimally appoint experts with policy preferences which are less extreme than their own.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 908.

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Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_908
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  1. Potters, Jan & van Winden, Frans, 1992. " Lobbying and Asymmetric Information," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 74(3), pages 269-92, October.
  2. repec:oup:qjecon:v:116:y:2001:i:2:p:747-775 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Austen-Smith David, 1993. "Interested Experts and Policy Advice: Multiple Referrals under Open Rule," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 3-43, January.
  4. Gilligan, Thomas W & Krehbiel, Keith, 1997. "Specialization Decisions within Committee," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 366-86, October.
  5. Paul R. Milgrom & John Roberts, 1985. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 749, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-51, November.
  7. Ottaviani, Marco & Sorensen, Peter, 2001. "Information aggregation in debate: who should speak first?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 393-421, September.
  8. Gilligan, Thomas W & Krehbiel, Keith, 1987. "Collective Decisionmaking and Standing Committees: An Informational Rationale for Restrictive Amendment Procedures," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 287-335, Fall.
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