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Rules transparency and political accountability

  • Massimo Bordignon
  • Enrico Minelli

Allocative and redistributive rules in the public sector are often less contingent on available information than normative theory would suggest. This paper offers a political economy explanation. Under different rules, even if the observable outcomes of policies remain the same, the informational content which can be extracted by these observations is different. Simpler rules are more transparent because they allow citizens to gain more information on politicians. Since there are limits to what voters can observe, this may be a relevant insight into the functioning of the political system.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 147.

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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:147
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  1. McLennan, Andrew, 1985. "Justifiable Beliefs in Sequential Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 889-904, July.
  2. Kenneth Rogoff, 1987. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," NBER Working Papers 2428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  4. Cukierman, Alex & Meltzer, Allan H, 1986. "A Theory of Ambiguity, Credibility, and Inflation under Discretion and Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1099-1128, September.
  5. Herrendorf, Berthold, 1999. "Transparency, reputation, and credibility under floating and pegged exchange rates," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 31-50, October.
  6. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:102:y:1987:i:2:p:179-221 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1998. "Sources of Inefficiency in a Representative Democracy: A Dynamic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 139-56, March.
  8. Wittman, Donald, 1989. "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1395-1424, December.
  9. Joel Slemrod, 1989. "Optimal Taxation and Optimal Tax Systems," NBER Working Papers 3038, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Panagariya, Arvind & Rodrik, Dani, 1993. "Political-Economy Arguments for a Uniform Tariff," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(3), pages 685-703, August.
  11. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1997. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 896, David K. Levine.
  12. Tirole, Jean, 1991. "Collusion and the Theory of Organizations," IDEI Working Papers 9, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
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