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Is Transparency to no avail? Committee Decision-making, Pre-meetings, and Credible Deals

Otto Swank () and Bauke Visser

No 07-055/1, Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers from Tinbergen Institute

Abstract: This discussion paper led to a publication in The Scandinavian Journal of Economics .

Transparent decision-making processes are widely regarded as a prerequisite for the working of a representative democracy. It facilitates accountability, and citizens may suspect that decisions, if taken behind closed doors, do not promote their interests. Why else the secrecy? We provide a model of committee decision-making that explains the public’s demand for transparency, and committee members’ aversion to it. In line with case study evidence, we show how pressures to become transparent induce committee members to organize pre-meetings away from the public eye. Outcomes of pre-meetings are less determined, more anarchic, than those of formal meetings, but within bounds. We characterize feasible deals that are credible and will be endorsed in the formal meeting.

Keywords: Committee decision-making; reputational concerns; transparency; pre-meetings; deliberation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D71 D72 D82 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2007-07-17
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Working Paper: Is Transparency to No Avail? Committee Decision-Making, Pre-Meetings, and Credible Deals (2008) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:tin:wpaper:20070055

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