Social Proximity and Bureaucrat Performance: Evidence from India

63 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2018 Last revised: 15 Nov 2021

See all articles by Guo Xu

Guo Xu

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business

Marianne Bertrand

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Robin Burgess

London School of Economics (LSE) - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Date Written: December 2018

Abstract

Using exogenous variation in social proximity generated by an allocation rule, we find that bureaucrats assigned to their home states are perceived to be more corrupt and less able to withstand illegitimate political pressure. Despite this, we observe that home officers are more likely to be promoted in the later stages of their careers. To understand this dissonance between performance and promotion we show that incoming Chief Ministers preferentially promote home officers that come from the same home district. Taken together, our results suggest that social proximity hampers bureaucrat performance by facilitating political capture and corruption.

Suggested Citation

Xu, Guo and Bertrand, Marianne and Burgess, Robin, Social Proximity and Bureaucrat Performance: Evidence from India (December 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w25389, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3306098

Guo Xu (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

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Marianne Bertrand

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://gsbwww.uchicago.edu/fac/marianne.bertrand/vita/cv_0604.pdf

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Robin Burgess

London School of Economics (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://econ.lse.ac.uk/staff/rburgess/index_own.html

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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