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Subpoena Power and Information Transmission

Arnaud Dellis () and Mandar Oak ()

No 2017-05, School of Economics Working Papers from University of Adelaide, School of Economics

Abstract: This paper studies the role of subpoena power in enabling a policymaker to make better informed decisions. In particular, we take into account the effect of subpoena power on the information voluntarily supplied by interest groups as well as the information obtained by the policymaker via the subpoena process. To this end, we develop a model of informational lobbying in which interest groups seek access to the policymaker in order to provide him verifiable evidence about the desirability of implementing reforms they care about. The policymaker is access-constrained, i.e., he lacks time/resources to verify the evidence provided by all interest groups. The policymaker may also be agenda-constrained, i.e., he may lack time/resources to reform all issues. We find that if a policymaker is agenda-constrained, then he is better off by having subpoena power. On the other hand, if a policymaker is not agenda-constrained, he is made worse off by having subpoena power. The key insight behind these findings is that subpoena power influences interest groups' incentives to provide information voluntarily, and that this influence differs depending on whether or not the policymaker is agenda-constrained.

Keywords: Lobbying; Information transmission; Subpoena; Agenda. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 D78 D83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mic and nep-pol
Date: 2017-03
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