Ulric B. and Evelyn L. Bray Seminar in Political Economy
In political organizations, the process of developing new policies often involves competing policy entrepreneurs who make productive investments to make their proposals more appealing to decisionmakers. We analyze how entrepreneurs' extremism and costs of crafting high-quality proposals affect patterns of competition and policy outcomes. A centrist decisionmaker can benefit from extremism of proposers and proposals, once we account for proposals' endogenously-determined quality. Lower costs spur investment, but entrepreneurs extract some ideological rents. When the contest is highly asymmetric, one entrepreneur almost always wins, but the decisionmaker benefits from the threat of competition.