Closing the Deal: Principals, Agents, and Subagents in New Zealand Land Reform

Ann L. Brower, Philip Meguire and Adrian Monks


This paper uses bargaining dynamics, administrative politics, and agency theory to examine financial outcomes from New Zealand land reform. Results are inconsistent with payments arising from a bargain in which both the Crown and lessee advocate to their full potential, and are instead consistent with the Crown backing down to lessees’ desires for a generous deal. This back-down stems either from “bureaucratic coping,” or from the addition of a bureaucratic middleman between the Crown principal and its negotiator subagent, exacerbating the principal-agent problem. (JEL K11, Q28)

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