Does public cheap talk by a biased expert benefit voters? The answer depends on the nature of democratic institutions and the extent of communication possibilities. Expert endorsements induce office-seeking parties to serve the expert's interests, hurting voters. Expert advocacy makes policies respond to information, helping voters. Together, policy advocacy and partisan endorsements are often better than either alone. Their interaction creates a delegation benefit that makes indirect democracy superior to direct democracy and office-seeking parties better than those motivated by public interest. But voter welfare is highest when an expert captured technocratic party competes against an uninformed populist one.
|American Economic Review
|Published - 30 Jun 2020