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Bureaucratic Advice and Political Governance

  • Robin Boadway

    ()

    (Queen's University)

  • Motohiro Sato

    ()

    (Hitotsubashi University)

Politicians typically do not know what policies are best for achieving their broad objectives, so rely on bureaucrats for advice. Bureaucrats are better informed, so can manipulate outcomes by proposing policies that suit their interests. We capture this conflict of interests using a model of political decision-making that focuses on the interaction between politicians and the bureaucracies that advise them. In the basic model, a representative bureaucrat, knowing the characteristics of a given project, recommends to a representative politician whether to adopt it. If the politician chooses to adopt the project, its characteristics are revealed ex post. On the basis of the revealed outcome, the politician decides whether to discipline the bureaucrat. The bureaucrat anticipates imperfectly the chances of discipline when making an ex ante recommendation. When project characteristics are multi-dimensional, the politician can choose whether to seek advice from one bureaucrat or more than one. We compare outcomes in these centralized and decentralized regimes.

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File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/working_papers/papers/qed_wp_1070.pdf
File Function: First version 2006
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Paper provided by Queen's University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1070.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: May 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:1070
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  1. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2005. "Bureaucrats or Politicians?," Levine's Working Paper Archive 784828000000000638, David K. Levine.
  2. Banks, J.S., 1990. "Two-Sided Uncertainty In The Monopoly Agenda Setter Model," RCER Working Papers 215, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  3. Hao Li & Wing Suen, 2004. "Delegating Decisions to Experts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S311-S335, February.
  4. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-51, November.
  5. Hao Li & Sherwin Rosen & Wing Suen, 2000. "Conflicts and Common Interests in Committees," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0341, Econometric Society.
  6. Canice Prendergast, 2003. "The Limits of Bureaucratic Efficiency," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 929-958, October.
  7. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1978. "Political resource allocation, controlled agendas, and the status quo," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 27-43, December.
  8. Banks, Jeffrey S, 1990. "Monopoly Agenda Control and Asymmetric Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 445-64, May.
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