On the Management of Public Opinion (Former Title: On the (Mis-)Use of Information for Public Debate)

Research output: Working paperResearch

Policymakers often motivate their decisions by disclosing information. While this can hold the government to account, it may also give policymakers an incentive to "…fix the evidence" around their preferred policy. This paper considers a model of biased information gathering where the government can in‡fluence the workings of an agency in charge of collecting information. We examine how different disclosure rules and the degree of independence of the government agency affect citizen welfare. Our main result is that insulating the agency from political pressure, so that its information is always unbiased, may not be socially optimal. A biased information gathering process can curb the government’'s tendency to implement its ex ante favored policy, thus mitigating the agency con‡flict between policymakers and the public.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

JEL Classi…cation: D73, H11, H56.

ID: 81611387