Transparency, Performance, and Agency Budgets: A Rational Expectations Modeling Approach
Existing research suggests that bureaucrats’ optimal behavior is to maximize their agency’s budgets, but does not account for information imperfections nor explore the tactics bureaucrats employ in maximizing their budgets. Drawing on the rational expectations literature, we propose a new theoretical model that describes the behaviors of politicians who, using imperfect information, judge an agency’s performance, and bureaucrats who, by varying the agency’s transparency, alter the degree of information imperfection and so influence the politicians’ abilities to judge the agency’s performance. We then fit data from the government’s Performance Accountability Reports and the Scorecard data set to our model and obtain empirical results that are consistent with what our theoretical model predicts.
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