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
Date Written: September 2, 2018
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: Suggested Citation