Abstract. Reform processes commonly involve professional bureaucrats drafting policies to be
adopted by political decision makers. Conflicts of interest between these two groups
may give rise to pandering in policymaking. We expand the standard pandering setup
in two directions. First, we allow for policies to differ in their complexity. Second, we
model the dynamic consequences of reforms, where a complex (simple) policy complex-
ifies (simplifies) the legislative environment in which subsequent policies are drafted.
We show that pandering motivates inefficient complex policies, which beget complexity
in the legislative environment. We derive conditions under which the complexity build-
up is bounded. Stabilization around an intermediate level of complexity is achieved
under high uncertainty around the type of policy reform suited to current conditions
and around the bureaucracy’s capacity to implement it. When complex reforms are
expected to be the right ones but bureaucratic capacity is uncertain, the legislative
environment may enter a trap of ever increasing complexity.
For more information and to register for this event, please contact the co-organizers:
Cathy Hafer (email@example.com) and Congyi Zhou (firstname.lastname@example.org).