Clientelism in the Public Sector: Why Public Service Reforms Fail and What to Do About it

34 Pages Posted: 15 May 2018

See all articles by Tessa Bold

Tessa Bold

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES)

Ezequiel Molina

World Bank

Abla Safir

World Bank

Date Written: May 14, 2018

Abstract

In many developing countries (and beyond), public sector workers are not just simply implementers of policies designed by the politicians in charge of supervising them -- so called agents and principals, respectively. Public sector workers can have the power to influence whether politicians are elected, thereby influencing whether policies to improve service delivery are adopted and how they are implemented, if at all. This has implications for the quality of public services: if the main purpose of the relationship between politicians and public servants is not to deliver quality public services, but rather to share rents accruing from public office, then service delivery outcomes are likely to be poor. This paper reviews the consequences of such clientelism for improving service delivery, and examines efforts to break from this "bad" equilibrium, at the local and national levels.

Keywords: Educational Institutions & Facilities, Effective Schools and Teachers, Educational Sciences, Labor Markets, Health Care Services Industry

Suggested Citation

Bold, Tessa and Molina, Ezequiel and Safir, Abla, Clientelism in the Public Sector: Why Public Service Reforms Fail and What to Do About it (May 14, 2018). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8439. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3178462

Tessa Bold (Contact Author)

Stockholm University - Institute for International Economic Studies (IIES) ( email )

Stockholm, SE-10691
Sweden

Ezequiel Molina

World Bank ( email )

1818 H street NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Abla Safir

World Bank

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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