Traveling Agents: Political Change and Bureaucratic Turnover in India

57 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2008 Last revised: 18 Nov 2009

See all articles by Lakshmi Iyer

Lakshmi Iyer

Harvard Business School - Business, Government and the International Economy Unit

Anandi Mani

University of Warwick

Date Written: November 17, 2009

Abstract

We develop a framework to empirically examine how politicians with electoral pressures control bureaucrats with career concerns as well as the consequences for bureaucrats' career investments. Unique micro-level data on Indian bureaucrats support our key predictions. Politicians use frequent reassignments (transfers) across posts of varying importance to control bureaucrats. High-skilled bureaucrats face less frequent political transfers and lower variability in the importance of their posts. We find evidence of two alternative paths to career success: officers of higher initial ability are more likely to invest in skill, but caste affinity to the politician's party base also helps secure important positions.

Keywords: career concerns, bureaucracy, bureaucrat reassignment

JEL Classification: D73, D78, J45, H83, D23

Suggested Citation

Iyer, Lakshmi and Mani, Anandi, Traveling Agents: Political Change and Bureaucratic Turnover in India (November 17, 2009). Harvard Business School BGIE Unit Working Paper No. 09-006, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1162714 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1162714

Lakshmi Iyer (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School - Business, Government and the International Economy Unit ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

Anandi Mani

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

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