Local Company Politics: A Proposal

9 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2013

See all articles by Raymond J. Fisman

Raymond J. Fisman

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Boston University

Eric Werker

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Date Written: January 24, 2013


Corrupt politicians, and poor government more generally, are commonly viewed as a primary barrier to economic progress. The roots to these problems run deep in many political systems across the developing world, and attempts at reform have rarely found much success. To combat this impasse, we suggest a radical new approach to local politics that, instead of proposing reforms to the electoral process, focuses on the political actors that might enter into this process. Specifically, we suggest that private firms be allowed to compete in elections to hold public office. That is, a corporate entity (e.g., Ernst and Young), rather than an individual representative of the firm, would be permitted to contest a local election. We argue that this is feasible: sufficient economic incentives could be put in place to induce firms to run for office, particularly if company office-holders prove to be competent in revenue collection. More importantly, we claim that there are many channels through which company politics should improve government, from breaking up entrenched old boys' networks to leveraging a company's existing organizational expertise. Private firms have realized efficiency and performance gains in areas such as infrastructure and many bureaucratic functions; we argue that the private sector can also attain results in politics, the most public of all realms.

Comments on this paper can be found at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2206514

Suggested Citation

Fisman, Raymond and Werker, Eric, Local Company Politics: A Proposal (January 24, 2013). Capitalism and Society, Vol. 2, Issue 1, Article 4, 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2206524

Raymond Fisman (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Boston University ( email )

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Eric Werker

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

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Boston, MA 02163
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