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The Economics of Career Concerns, Part II: Application to Missions and Accountability of Government Agencies


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The paper uses a simple multitask career concern model in order to analyse the incentives of government agencies’ officials. Incentives are impaired by the agency pursuing multiple missions. A lack of focus is even more problematic in the case of fuzzy missions, that is when outsiders are uncertain about the exact nature of the missions actually pursued by the agency. Consequently agencies pursuing multiple missions receive less autonomy.

The paper further shows that professionalization creates a sense of mission for the agency, and that the specialization of officials raises their incentives. Last, the paper compares its predictions with the stylized facts on Government bureaucracies.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: ECARE, Université Libre de Bruxelles, CEPR and CORE, 2: University of Bristol, CEPR and CMPO, 3: IDEI, GREMAQ, CERAS, MIT

Publication date: January 1, 1999

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