Some committees are made up of experts, persons who care both about the matter at hand and about coming across as able decision makers. We show that such committees would like to conceal disagreement from the public. That is, once the decision has been reached, they show a united front to the outside world. Also, if such committees are required to become transparent, for example, by publishing verbatim transcripts of their meetings, members will organize pre-meetings away from the public eye. A large part of the article is dedicated to a case study of the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee in the United States. It provides suggestive evidence supporting our theory.

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Keywords FOMC, committees, pre-meetings, reputational concerns, transparency
JEL Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations (jel D71), Economic Models of Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior (jel D72), Asymmetric and Private Information (jel D82), Central Banks and Their Policies (jel E58)
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Journal Journal of the European Economic Association
Swank, J, & Visser, B. (2008). How committees of experts interact with the outside world: Some theory, and evidence from the FOMC. Journal of the European Economic Association, 6(2-3), 478–486. doi:10.1162/JEEA.2008.6.2-3.478