Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Equilibrium Reforms and Endogenous Complexity

Author(s): Dana Foarta and Massimo Morelli

Publication Date: August 2020

Keyword(s): bureaucracy, Checks and balances, competence, Incremental Reforms, Information, interest groups, Politicians and Regulatory Complexity

Programme Area(s): Public Economics

Abstract: Decision makers called to evaluate and approve a reform, proposed by an interest group, a politician, or a bureaucracy, suffer from a double asymmetric information problem: about the competence of the proposer and the consequences of the proposal. Moreover, the ability of decision makers to evaluate proposals depends on the complexity of the legislative environment, itself a product of past reforms. We model the strategic interaction between reformers and decision makers as a function of legislative complexity, and study the dynamics of endogenous complexity and stability of reforms. Complexication-simplication cycles can occur on the equilibrium path, and expected long-run complexity may be higher when competence of reform proposers is lower. The results apply to regulatory reforms, legislative politics, and institutional design.

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Bibliographic Reference

Foarta, D and Morelli, M. 2020. 'Equilibrium Reforms and Endogenous Complexity'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.