hero working papers

Rules transparency and political accountability

Number: 147
Year: 1999
Author(s): Massimo Bordignon (Università di Venezia and Universit Cattolica di Milano) and Enrico Minelli (Università di Brescia)

Allocative and redistributive rules in the public sector are often less contingent on available information than normative theory would suggest. This paper offers a political economy explanation. Under different rules, even if the observable outcomes of policies remain the same, the informational content which can be extracted by these observations is different. Simpler rules are more transparent because they allow citizens to gain more information on politicians. Since there are limits to what voters can observe, this may be a relevant insight into the functioning of the political system.