Bureaucrats or Politicians? Part II: Multiple Policy Tasks

Citation:

Alesina, Alberto, and Guido Tabellini. 2008. “Bureaucrats or Politicians? Part II: Multiple Policy Tasks.” Journal of Public Economics 92: 426-447.
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Abstract:

Policies are typically chosen by politicians and bureaucrats. This paper investigates first the normative criteria with which to allocate policy tasks to elected policymakers (politicians) or non-elected bureaucrats. Politicians are preferable if there is uncertainty about social preferences and flexibility is valuable, or if policy complementarities and compensation of losers is uncertainty about social preferences and flexibility is valuable, or if policy complementarities and compensation of losers is important. Bureaucrats are preferable if time inconsistency and short-termism is an issue, or if vested interests have large stakes in the policy outcome. We then compare this normative benchmark with the case in which politicians choose when to delegate and show that the two generally differ.

Last updated on 04/03/2013