Governing Through Intermediaries
New York University School of Law
Daniel R. Ortiz
University of Virginia School of Law
June 1, 1999
Virginia Law Review, 1999
University of Virginia Law School, Legal Studies Working Paper No. 99-6
Governing Through Intermediaries explores political representation through the lens of agency costs. In particular, it looks at the role intermediaries play in our political system and describes many of them as "superagents," that is, agents who monitor and supervise primary agents on behalf of political principals. While these superagents can help reduce the primary agency costs inherent in representation, they threaten to add a whole new layer of superagency costs to the relationship. We must consider these other costs in designing our political structures. We consider two problems in particular: superagent shirking and fractionated supervision of interests. We also consider the dangers of superagent rent-seeking. While focusing on corporations, unions, and political parties as superagents, the analysis applies to many other entities as well. The piece ends by applying superagency analysis to several thorny issues in campaign finance regulation.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: July 12, 1999 ; Last revised: September 17, 2013
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