Governance and Corruption in PNG’s Public Service: Insights From Four Subnational Administrations

37 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2019

See all articles by Grant Walton

Grant Walton

Australian National University - Development Policy Centre

Date Written: April 3, 2019

Abstract

The Papua New Guinea (PNG) government and international donors have spent millions of kina trying to improve governance in the country’s bureaucracy. Despite these efforts, there are few indicators of success: many consider PNG’s public service to be rife with corruption. However, narratives about these problems have excluded public servants’ perspectives: there is little empirical data about why public servants might support or resist corruption and poor governance. This paper draws on interviews with 136 public servants across four provinces – Eastern Highlands, Milne Bay, Madang and New Ireland – to provide insights into what PNG’s bureaucrats think about these issues. It finds that public servants are often ill-informed about the laws and rules guiding their roles, and are under enormous pressure to provide unofficial favours to businesses, politicians and kith and kin. Yet, some are able to resist these pressures better than others, with senior staff, men, and those in Milne Bay and Madang better placed to push back against and report corruption. Findings suggest that policies that aim to support and inform the less enfranchised (women and junior staff) are particularly important for addressing corruption in PNG. However, this paper argues that efforts to shift the status quo must take into account the contextually-specific relationships between bureaucrats, politicians and citizens, which vary across time and space.

Keywords: governance corruption public service PNG

JEL Classification: H83

Suggested Citation

Walton, Grant, Governance and Corruption in PNG’s Public Service: Insights From Four Subnational Administrations (April 3, 2019). Development Policy Centre Discussion Paper No. 81. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3365319 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3365319

Grant Walton (Contact Author)

Australian National University - Development Policy Centre ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
139
Abstract Views
491
rank
209,126
PlumX Metrics