Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper No. 2002-016/1
15 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2002
Date Written: January 2002
The collection of information necessary for decision-making is often delegated to agents (e.g. bureaucrats, advisors, lawyers). If both the pros and cons of a decision have to be examined, it is better to use competing agents instead of a single agent. The reason is that two conflicting pieces of information cancel each other out. Using two agents, each searching for one cause yields full information collection at minimum costs. This provides a rationale for advocacy in political and judicial systems. In this paper, we provide a rationale for the sequential nature of information collection in advocacy systems. If two agents search simultaneously, the incentive to continue searching is affected by the information found by the other agent. This forces the principal to leave rents to the agents. If agents search sequentially, the reward can be made conditional on the information found in earlier stages. This reduces the cost of information collection. However, sequential advocacy implies either a more sluggish decision-making process or a less-informed decision.
Keywords: Information collection, advocates, sequential, budgetary process
JEL Classification: D83, D80, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation