Is Transparency to No Avail? Committee Decision-Making, Pre-Meetings, and Credible Deals

34 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2007  

Otto H. Swank

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Economics; Tinbergen Institute Rotterdam (TIR)

Bauke Visser

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Economics; Tinbergen Institute Rotterdam (TIR)

Date Written: July 2007

Abstract

Transparent decision-making processes are widely regarded as a prerequisite for the working of a representative democracy. It facilitates accountability, and citizens may suspect that decisions, if taken behind closed doors, do not promote their interests. Why else the secrecy? We provide a model of committee decision-making that explains the public's demand for transparency, and committee members' aversion to it. In line with case study evidence, we show how pressures to become transparent induce committee members to organize pre-meetings away from the public eye. Outcomes of pre-meetings are less determined, more anarchic, than those of formal meetings, but within bounds. We characterize feasible deals that are credible and will be endorsed in the formal meeting.

Keywords: Committee decision-making, reputational concerns, transparency, pre-meetings, deliberation

JEL Classification: D71, D72, D82

Suggested Citation

Swank, Otto H. and Visser, Bauke, Is Transparency to No Avail? Committee Decision-Making, Pre-Meetings, and Credible Deals (July 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1001232 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1001232

Otto H. Swank (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Tinbergen Institute Rotterdam (TIR)

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
+31 10 4081448 (Phone)
+31 10 2120551 (Fax)

Bauke Visser

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
+ 31 (0)10 40 81449 (81441) (Phone)
+ 31 (0)10 40 89149 (Fax)

Tinbergen Institute Rotterdam (TIR)

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

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