The Politics of (No) Compromise: Information Acquisition, Policy Discretion, and Reputation

31 Oct 2021  ·  Liqun Liu ·

Precise information is essential for making good policies, especially those regarding reform decisions. However, decision-makers may hesitate to gather such information if certain decisions could have negative impacts on their future careers. We model how decision-makers with career concerns may acquire policy-relevant information and carry out reform decisions when their policy discretion can be limited ex ante. Typically, decision-makers with career concerns have weaker incentives to acquire information compared to decision-makers without such concerns. In this context, we demonstrate that the public can encourage information acquisition by eliminating either the "moderate policy" or the status quo from decision-makers' discretion. We also analyze when reform decisions should be strategically delegated to decision-makers with or without career concerns.

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