Rule Versus Discretion: Regulatory Uncertainty, Firm Investment, and the Ally Principle
Previous studies of the bureaucracy have focused on the internal relationship between politicians (principals) and bureaucrats (agents). External regulated actors, such as firms, have generally been ignored. But firms strategically respond to their regulatory environment and regulatory uncertainty can deter investment. We examine how concerns about firms' strategic behavior affect the optimal internal organization of the bureaucracy. When regulatory uncertainty is about how much firms will be regulated, the ally principle applies: the principal delegates to an agent with similar preferences as hers. When regulatory uncertainty is about whether firms will be regulated, the ally principle fails to hold: the principal prefers an inefficient rule-based regulatory framework or, if possible, to delegate to an agent with preferences distinct from hers to encourage firm investment. We uncover novel endogenous limits to delegation since the principal faces a commitment problem not to replace a biased agent after the firm investment.
|Date of creation:||09 Jun 2015|
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- Susan Athey & Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2005.
"The Optimal Degree of Discretion in Monetary Policy,"
Econometric Society, vol. 73(5), pages 1431-1475, September.
- Susan Athey & Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2002. "The optimal degree of discretion in monetary policy," Working Papers 626, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Susan Athey & Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2004. "The optimal degree of discretion in monetary policy," International Finance Discussion Papers 801, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Susan Athey & Andrew Atkeson & Patrick Kehoe, 2003. "The Optimal Degree of Discretion in Monetary Policy," NBER Working Papers 10109, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Athey, Susan & Atkeson, Andrew & Kehoe, Patrick J., 2004. "The optimal degree of discretion in monetary policy," Working Paper Series 338, European Central Bank.
- Susan Athey & Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2004. "The optimal degree of discretion in monetary policy," Staff Report 326, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Sean Gailmard, 2002. "Expertise, Subversion, and Bureaucratic Discretion," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 536-555, October.
- Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, January.
- Terry M. Moe, 2012. "Delegation, Control, and the Study of Public Bureaucracy," Introductory Chapters,in: Robert Gibbons & John Roberts (ed.), The Handbook of Organizational Economics Princeton University Press.
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