The Importance of Bureaucrats in a Weak State: Evidence from the Philippines
41 Pages Posted: 2 May 2016 Last revised: 10 May 2017
Date Written: May 8, 2017
We present new evidence about the quantitative extent to which individual bureaucrats matter for public sector performance in a developing country context where the state is weak. We construct revenue district office-matched panel data for the Philippines that allow us to follow tax officers across different assignments. We demonstrate that bureaucrat fixed effects explain a significant extent of differences in local tax outcomes. Furthermore, we show evidence consistent with the view that political patronage negatively influences bureaucrat behavior, and that the bureaucratic leader attempts to mitigate revenue loss due to such patronage through more effective officer-district matching. Our results provide new insights into the inner workings of government in the developing world.
Keywords: state capacity, individual bureaucrats, fiscal performance, political patronage, Philippines, developing world
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