Sounding the Alarm: The Political Economy of Whistleblowing in the U.S. Security State

32 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2018 Last revised: 9 Dec 2018

See all articles by Christopher J. Coyne

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Nathan Goodman

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Abigail Hall

University of Tampa; George Mason University

Date Written: September 2, 2018

Abstract

What role do whistleblowers play in democratic politics? This paper answers this question by analyzing the political economy of whistleblowing within democratic political institutions. Democratic politics is characterized by numerous principal-agent problems creating significant space for opportunism. Whistleblowers help to resolve these principal-agent problems through the revelation of information regarding abuses of power. These revelations can take place internally by taking advantage of channels to report abuse, or externally by publicly revealing information. The latter is especially important where internal mechanisms for reporting opportunism are lacking. Whistleblowing in the U.S. national security state is presented to illustrate this logic.

Keywords: Democratic Politics, Information Asymmetries, Whistleblowing, Principal-Agent Problem, U.S. National Security State

JEL Classification: D73, H11, H56

Suggested Citation

Coyne, Christopher J. and Goodman, Nathan and Hall, Abigail, Sounding the Alarm: The Political Economy of Whistleblowing in the U.S. Security State (September 2, 2018). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 18-29, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3242947 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3242947

Christopher J. Coyne (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.ccoyne.com/

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
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HOME PAGE: http://ppe.mercatus.org/scholars/christopher-coyne

Nathan Goodman

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Abigail Hall

University of Tampa ( email )

George Mason University ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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