Programmatic Political Parties and Public Sector Reform
31 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 15 Sep 2010
Date Written: 2010
A large literature on the political economy of public sector organization asks how and when the legislature delegates authority to the public administration. We contribute to this literature by investigating a new question: under what conditions do politicians prefer a well-performing public administration, with transparent and rule-bound financial and personnel management? We argue that programmatic political parties play a central role, by facilitating collective action by political actors. Such politicians can be more easily held accountable for the implementation of broad public policies, prompting them to be more sensitive to the quality of public sector management. In addition, such politicians are better able to act collectively to enforce high standards of public administration on a reluctant executive. We find robust support for this claim with novel evidence: ratings of 511 World Bank public sector reform loans in 109 countries are systematically higher in countries with programmatic political parties.
Keywords: Parties, Public Sector Reform, Bureaucracy, World Bank
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