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Bureaucrats or Politicians? Part II: Multiple Policy Tasks

  • Alberto Alesina
  • Guido Tabellini

Policies are typically chosen by politicians and bureaucrats. This paper investigates first the normative criteria with which to allocate policy tasks to elected policymakers (politicians) or non-elected bureaucrats. Politicians are preferable if there is uncertainty about social preferences and flexibility is valuable, or if policy complementarities and compensation of losers is important. Bureaucrats are preferable if time inconsistency and short-termism is an issue, or if vested interests have large stakes in the policy outcome. We then compare this normative benchmark with the case in which politicians choose when to delegate and show that the two generally differ.

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Date of creation: 14 Mar 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:321307000000000875
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  1. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini , Guido, 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Seminar Papers 630, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Andrei Shleifer, 2001. "The Rise of the Regulatory State," NBER Working Papers 8650, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political Economics and Public Finance," CEPR Discussion Papers 2235, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1996. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1778, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Philippe Aghion & Alberto Alesina & Francesco Trebbi, 2005. "Choosing Electoral Rules: Theory and Evidence from US Cities," NBER Working Papers 11236, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2007. "Bureaucrats or Politicians? Part I: A Single Policy Task," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 169-179, March.
  7. Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The Economics of Career Concerns, Part I: Comparing Information Structures," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 183-198.
  8. Philippe Aghion & Alberto Alesina & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Endogenous Political Institutions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 565-611.
  9. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
  10. Alberto Alesina & Alex Cukierman, 1990. "The Politics of Ambiguity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(4), pages 829-850.
  11. Christian Schultz, 2003. "Information, Polarization and Delegation in Democracy," EPRU Working Paper Series 03-16, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  12. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "Bureaucrats or Politicians?," NBER Working Papers 10241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
  14. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 2003. "Incomplete Social Contracts," Scholarly Articles 4554123, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Maskin, Eric, 2002. "On indescribable contingencies and incomplete contracts," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 725-733, May.
  16. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Representative democracy and capital taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 53-70, September.
  17. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661314, March.
  18. Alberto F. Alesina & Roberto Perotti, 1999. "Budget Deficits and Budget Institutions," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Institutions and Fiscal Performance, pages 13-36 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. McCubbins, Mathew D & Noll, Roger G & Weingast, Barry R, 1987. "Administrative Procedures as Instruments of Political Control," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 243-77, Fall.
  20. Besley, Timothy J. & Coate, Stephen, 2000. "Elected Versus Appointed Regulators: Theory And Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 2381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Mathias Dewatripont & Ian Jewitt & Jean Tirole, 1999. "The Economics of Career Concerns, Part II: Application to Missions and Accountability of Government Agencies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 199-217.
  22. Kenneth Rogoff, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-1189.
  23. Seabright, Paul, 1996. "Accountability and decentralisation in government: An incomplete contracts model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 61-89, January.
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