Why principals tolerate biases of inaccurate agents

Kimiko Terai, Amihai Glazer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Some agents are more accurate than others in estimating the best policy. The more accurately an agent estimates a policy's effects, the more he will resist biases, such as bribes from a special interest. Thus, a special interest needs to pay a larger bribe to an accurate agent than to an inaccurate agent. The accurate agent who is biased will then more likely cause harm than does an inaccurate agent who favors the special interest. Therefore, the principal may gain more from controlling biases of an accurate agent than of an inaccurate one. Thus, high ability of public officials may be associated with little corruption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-111
Number of pages15
JournalEconomics and Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar


  • bureaucracy
  • principal-agent problem
  • special interests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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