Why do Politicians Delegate?

23 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2005  

Alberto F. Alesina

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Guido Tabellini

University of Bocconi - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research (IGIER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research (CESifo); Bocconi University - Department of Economics

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Date Written: July 2005

Abstract

Opportunistic politicians maximize the probability of reelection and rents from office holding. Can it be optimal from their point of view to delegate policy choices to independent bureaucracies? The answer is yes: politicians will delegate some policy tasks, though in general not those that would be socially optimal to delegate. In particular, politicians tend not to delegate coalition forming redistributive policies and policies that create large rents or effective campaign contributions. Instead they prefer to delegate risky policies to shift risk (and blame) on bureaucracies.

Suggested Citation

Alesina, Alberto F. and Tabellini, Guido, Why do Politicians Delegate? (July 2005). Harvard Institute of Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 2079. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=764430 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.764430

Alberto F. Alesina (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Guido Tabellini

University of Bocconi - Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research (IGIER) ( email )

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