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Is Transparency to No Avail? Committee Decision-Making, Pre-Meetings, and Credible Deals


  • Otto H. Swank
  • Bauke Visser


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Otto H. Swank & Bauke Visser, 2008. "Is Transparency to No Avail? Committee Decision-Making, Pre-Meetings, and Credible Deals," Economics Working Papers ECO2008/18, European University Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2008/18

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andrea Prat, 2005. "The Wrong Kind of Transparency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 862-877, June.
    2. Gilat Levy, 2007. "Decision Making in Committees: Transparency, Reputation, and Voting Rules," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 150-168, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Otto H. Swank & Bauke Visser, 2009. "Decision Making and Learning in a Globalizing World," Economics Working Papers ECO2009/20, European University Institute.
    2. Mikael Apel & Carl Andreas Claussen & Petra Gerlach-Kristen & Petra Lennartsdotter & Øistein Røisland, 2013. "Monetary policy decisions – comparing theory and “inside” information from MPC members," Working Paper 2013/03, Norges Bank.
    3. Mikael Apel & Carl Andreas Claussen & Petra Lennartsdotter & Øistein Røisland, 2015. "Monetary Policy Committees: Comparing Theory and "Inside" Information from MPC Members," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 11(4), pages 47-89, December.

    More about this item


    Committee decision-making; reputational concerns; transparency; pre-meetings; deliberation; self-enforcing deals; coalitions;

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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