Is Transparency to No Avail? Committee Decision-Making, Pre-Meetings, and Credible Deals
Transparent decision-making processes are widely regarded as a prerequisite for the working of a representative democracy. It facilitates accountability, and citizens may suspect that decisions, if taken behind closed doors, do not promote their interests. Why else the secrecy? We provide a model of committee decision-making that explains the public.s demand for transparency, and committee members. aversion to it. In line with case study evidence, we show how pressures to become transparent induce committee members to organize pre-meetings away from the public eye. Outcomes of pre-meetings, deals, are less determined, more anarchic, than those of formal meetings, but within bounds. We characterize deals that are self-enforcing in the formal meeting.
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