Try to See It My Way: the Process and Perils of "coming Around"

Dan Alexander (University of Rochester)
Darrian Stacy (Vanderbilt University)

Abstract : Can a career civil servant (bureaucrat) achieve long-term policy congruence via strategic reporting to a political appointee who oversees her agency and sets policy? This paper develops a model that explores when bureaucrats will misreport information relevant to an appointee's short-term decisionmaking in order to influence the appointee's belief formation and, thereby, long-term policy setting. We find that when a bureaucrat's short-term and long-term policy goals do not conflict too greatly, she will prefer to provide a truthful report to the appointee -- who, in turn, is willing to accept the report as truthful (particularly as it pertains to short-term policy responses). When a bureaucrat's long-term and short-term goals are in conflict, however, she has an incentive to engage in deception in which she reports misinformation to her political appointee in order to influence belief formation. Favorable conditions for this deception to take place include divergent policy preferences between the bureaucrat and the appointee, a low likelihood of short-term decisions being necessary, and bureaucratic desire for long-term policy congruence from the appointee.

Choosing Your Pond: a Structural Model of Power Sharing

Selcen Cakir (Bogazici University)

Abstract : I develop a model of party formation in which politicians share their political rents with party leaders in exchange for accessing parties’ club goods. Bigger parties provide greater club goods but tax politicians’ rents more upon entry. Therefore, politicians with more assets prefer smaller parties. I estimate my model for Turkey with a dataset of all listed politicians between 1995 and 2014. I find that the right-wing parties accumulate club goods more easily than they produce rents, which leads to ever stronger party control. Counterfactual exercises provide a novel explanation for the differences in party-size distributions across political systems.

Checks and Balances and Nation Building: the Spanish Constitutional Court and Catalonia

Agustin Casas (CUNEF & INARBE)
Federico Curci (CUNEF)
Antoni De Moragas (CUNEF)

Abstract : We examine whether the exercise of checks and balances can affect nation build-ing by studying how the ruling of the Spanish Constitutional Court on the CatalanConstitution affected Catalan support of secession, which doubled in the 2010-2012 period. Our identification strategy relies on the fact that the ruling occurred amidst a public opinion survey. We nd that the ruling led to a 20% increase in support for Catalan independence from Spain in 2010. We show that the increased support of the secessionist cause cannot be explained by the economic crisis or the political parties' strategies. Although cultural factors are a mediating mechanism, the diminished trust in institutional channels of accountability represents the main mechanism behind our result.