Does Unbundling Policy Authority Improve Accountability?
The journal of Politics
University of Chicago Press
933 - 947 p.
Political accountability, Authority unbundling, Task complexity, Policy capture, Multitask
We develop a model to analyze the effects of complexity of policy areas on the desirability of bundling or unbundling policy-making authority. We find that bundling tends to increase political accountability when the complexities of bundled policy areas are sufficiently symmetric and decrease it when the complexities are sufficiently asymmetric. When bundling is beneficial, its advantage comes from the possibility of sustaining in equilibrium a mechanism that makes greater investment into policy in multiple issue areas a form of insurance purchase for the officeholder. The appeal of such insurance purchases and the edge they give to bundling persist in the presence of the possibility of policy capture by special interests, upending the conventional wisdom.