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Credible Communication in Dynastic Government

  • Roger Lagunoff

    (Georgetown University)

It has been suggested that ``horizontal accountability," i.e., a system of governance where auditing functions lie outside the executive branch, can ensure credible disclosure of information. This paper examines a model of intertemporal information provision in government that suggests a cautious approach to that view. Government consists of a succession of regimes, each ruling for one period before relinquishing power to a successor. Without external auditing, credible communication cannot be sustained. Hence, expenditure policies are suboptimal. Even with external auditing, credible communication requires ideological conflicts between the auditor and the regime. Moreover, because information transmission stops when the auditor's and the regime's biases coincide, effective deterrents even in the ``good" periods (when the auditor's and the regime's biases differ) are difficult to construct. As a result, in standard constructions of equilibrium, efficient policy choices are shown to be unsustainable

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File URL: http://www.wallis.rochester.edu/WallisPapers/wallis_34.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy in its series Wallis Working Papers with number WP34.

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Length: pages
Date of creation: Oct 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:roc:wallis:wp34
Contact details of provider: Postal: University of Rochester, Wallis Institute, Harkness 109B Rochester, New York 14627 U.S.A.

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