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Why do Politicians Delegate?

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  • Alberto Alesina
  • Guido Tabellini

Abstract

Opportunistic politicians maximize the probability of reelection and rents from office holding. Can it be optimal from their point of view to delegate policy choices to independent bureaucracies? The answer is yes: politicians will delegate some policy tasks, though in general not those that would be socially optimal to delegate. In particular, politicians tend not to delegate coalition forming redistributive policies and policies that create large rents or effective campaign contributions. Instead they prefer to delegate risky policies to shift risk (and blame) on bureaucracies.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "Why do Politicians Delegate?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2079, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:2079
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Mayes, David G. & Nieto, María J. & Wall, Larry, 2008. "Multiple safety net regulators and agency problems in the EU: Is Prompt Corrective Action partly the solution?," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 232-257, September.
    4. Guillermo Ordonez, 2008. "Essays on Learning and Macroeconomics," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002250, David K. Levine.
    5. Yuan-Hong Ho & Chiung-Ju Huang, 2013. "Presidential Election, Checks and Balances, and Allocation of Public Expenditures in Taiwan," Journal of Economics and Management, College of Business, Feng Chia University, Taiwan, vol. 9(1), pages 31-53, January.
    6. Ludema, Rodney D. & Olofsgard, Anders, 2008. "Delegation versus communication in the organization of government," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 213-235, February.
    7. Aquilante, Tommaso, 2015. "Bureaucrats or Politicians? Political Parties and Antidumping in the US," MPRA Paper 70359, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Mayes, David G. & Nieto, María J. & Wall, Larry, 2007. "Multiple safety net regulators and agency problems in the EU : is Prompt Corrective Action a partial solution," Research Discussion Papers 7/2007, Bank of Finland.

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