Political Selection and Bureaucratic Productivity

87 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2018 Last revised: 14 Dec 2018

See all articles by James P. Habyarimana

James P. Habyarimana

Georgetown University; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Stuti Khemani

World Bank; World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Thiago Scot

World Bank

Date Written: December 12, 2018

Abstract

Economic theory of public bureaucracies as complex organizations predicts that bureaucratic productivity can be shaped by the selection of different types of agents, beyond their incentives. This theory applies to the institutions of local government in the developing world, where nationally appointed bureaucrats and locally elected politicians together manage the implementation of public policies and the delivery of services. Yet, there is no evidence on whether (which) selection traits of these bureaucrats and politicians matter for the productivity of local bureaucracies. This paper addresses the empirical gap by gathering rich data in an institutional context of district governments in Uganda, which is typical of the local state in poor countries. The paper measures traits such as the integrity, altruism, personality, and public service motivation of bureaucrats and politicians. It finds robust evidence that higher integrity among locally elected politicians is associated with substantively better delivery of public health services by district bureaucracies. Together with the theory, this evidence suggests that policy makers seeking to build local state capacity in poor countries should take political selection seriously.

Keywords: Health Care Services Industry, Educational Sciences, Health Service Management and Delivery, Inequality, Public Health Promotion

Suggested Citation

Habyarimana, James P. and Khemani, Stuti and Scot, Thiago, Political Selection and Bureaucratic Productivity (December 12, 2018). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8673. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3300454

James P. Habyarimana (Contact Author)

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Stuti Khemani

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/skhemani

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Thiago Scot

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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