The Organization of Political Parties and the Politics of Bureaucratic Reform

55 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Cesi Cruz

Cesi Cruz

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Political Science

Philip Keefer

Inter-American Development Bank

Date Written: November 1, 2013

Abstract

Bureaucratic reform is a priority of donor organizations, including the World Bank, but is notoriously difficult to implement. In many countries, politicians have little interest in the basic financial and personnel management systems that are essential to political oversight of bureaucratic performance. To explain this, this paper presents a new perspective on the political economy of bureaucracy. Politicians in some countries belong to parties that are organized to allow party members to act collectively to limit leader shirking. This is particularly the case with programmatic parties. Such politicians have stronger incentives to pursue public policies that require a well-functioning public administration. Novel evidence offers robust support for this argument. From a sample of 439 World Bank public sector reform loans in 109 countries, the paper finds that public sector reforms are more likely to succeed in countries with programmatic political parties.

Keywords: Public Sector Economics, Public Sector Management and Reform, Public Sector Expenditure Policy, Public Sector Corruption & Anticorruption Measures, Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations and Local Finance Management

Suggested Citation

Cruz, Cesi and Keefer, Philip, The Organization of Political Parties and the Politics of Bureaucratic Reform (November 1, 2013). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6686. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2349954

Cesi Cruz (Contact Author)

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Vancouver, V6T 1Z1
Canada

Philip Keefer

Inter-American Development Bank ( email )

1300 New York Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States
202-623-1961 (Phone)

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