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Herding Among Bureaucrats


  • Branko Boskovic, David P.Byrne, Arvind Magesan


The herding of expert opinions is often rationalized as the outcome of social learning. However,experts are typically individuals with career concerns. As a result, herding can also arise from the fear of opposing consensus opinion and the potential career consequences of being wrong. We empirically test for social learning and career concerns using novel data on bureaucrats' expert opinions over whether to publicly provide health insurance for pharmaceuticals. We and robust evidence that career concerns are an important source of herd behavior in these policy choices. Our findings have implications for the delegation of policy-making to experts.

Suggested Citation

  • Branko Boskovic, David P.Byrne, Arvind Magesan, 2012. "Herding Among Bureaucrats," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1158, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1158

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1995. "Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1176-1209, December.
    2. Margaret K. Kyle, 2006. "The role of firm characteristics in pharmaceutical product launches," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(3), pages 602-618, September.
    3. Judith Chevalier & Glenn Ellison, 1999. "Career Concerns of Mutual Fund Managers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 389-432.
    4. Francisco J. Buera & Alexander Monge‚ÄźNaranjo & Giorgio E. Primiceri, 2011. "Learning the Wealth of Nations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(1), pages 1-45, January.
    5. Abhijit V. Banerjee, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817.
    6. David Dranove & David Meltzer, 1994. "Do Important Drugs Reach the Market Sooner?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(3), pages 402-423, Autumn.
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    More about this item


    D80; H77; I18;

    JEL classification:

    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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