Strategic Promotion, Reputation, and Responsiveness in Bureaucratic Hierarchies

Journal of Theoretical Politics, Forthcoming

50 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2019

See all articles by Xinyu Fan

Xinyu Fan

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Feng Yang

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Date Written: January 17, 2019

Abstract

While existing studies usually model promotion as a bilateral interaction between promoter and promotee, it is not uncommon that the promoter is under the influence of a third-party. For instance, authoritarian rulers may consider how their interactions with local agents change the way that citizens view them. Similarly, a mid-tier officer in a bureaucratic hierarchy often concerns herself with her image in the eyes of her superior when managing her subordinates. In this paper, we construct a game-theoretic model to investigate promotion strategies when promoters have reputation concerns. We show that promoters can use promotion as a signaling tool, where she can deliberately postpone promoting the subordinate to enhance her own reputation. Furthermore, the promoter has extra incentives to shirk, knowing that she can manipulate promotion in the future. Thus, strategic promotions decrease government responsiveness. Counter-intuitively, such decrease is more severe when intra-bureaucracy information is more transparent. In other words, transparency may do more harm than good. We conduct a case study of the Chinese bureaucracy and provide supportive evidence.

Keywords: Strategic Promotion, Reputation, Responsiveness, Bureaucracy

Suggested Citation

Fan, Xinyu and Yang, Feng, Strategic Promotion, Reputation, and Responsiveness in Bureaucratic Hierarchies (January 17, 2019). Journal of Theoretical Politics, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3331437

Xinyu Fan

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

8283 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1477
United States

Feng Yang (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

4289 Bunche Hall
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

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