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Bureaucratic Rents and Life Satisfaction

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  • Alois Stutzer

Abstract

Institutions affect bureaucrats' possibilities to acquire rents; they determine the degree of accountability and responsiveness of officials and of political control of the bureaucracy and, thereby, the size and distribution of rents in the public sphere. Those rents can involve higher wages, monetary and nonmonetary fringe benefits, and bribes. We propose a direct measure to capture the total of these rents: the difference in subjective well-being between bureaucrats and people working in the private sector. In a sample of 42 countries, we find large variations in the extent of rents in the public bureaucracy. The extent of rents is determined by differences in institutional and political constraints. In particular, we find judicial independence to be of major relevance for a tamed bureaucracy. Further, our measure for rents correlates with indicators of regulatory policies and perceptions of corruption. ( JEL D72, D73, I31, J30, J45) The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Yale University. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization.

Volume (Year): 24 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 476-488

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:24:y:2008:i:2:p:476-488

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  1. Besley, Timothy J. & Ghatak, Maitreesh, 2004. "Competition and Incentives with Motivated Agents," CEPR Discussion Papers 4641, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio LopezdeSilanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2000. "The Regulation of Entry," NBER Working Papers 7892, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 03-2001, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  4. Bruno S. Frey & Christine Benesch & Alois Stutzer, . "Does watching TV make us happy?," IEW - Working Papers 241, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  5. Rafael Di Tella & Alberto Ades, 1999. "Rents, Competition, and Corruption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 982-993, September.
  6. DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 1999. "Partisan social happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 22-1999, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  7. Brennan,Geoffrey & Buchanan,James M., 2006. "The Power to Tax," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521027922.
  8. Hanssen, F Andrew, 2000. "Independent Courts and Administrative Agencies: An Empirical Analysis of the States," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 534-71, October.
  9. Ed Diener & Christie Napa-Scollon & Shigehiro Oishi & Vivian Dzokoto & Eunkook Suh, 2000. "Positivity and the Construction of Life Satisfaction Judgments: Global Happiness is not the Sum of its Parts," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 159-176, June.
  10. Fisman, Raymond & Gatti, Roberta, 2002. "Decentralization and corruption: evidence across countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 325-345, March.
  11. Thierry Verdier & Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "The Choice between Market Failures and Corruption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 194-211, March.
  12. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
  13. Gregory, Robert G. & Borland, Jeff, 1999. "Recent developments in public sector labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 53, pages 3573-3630 Elsevier.
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Cited by:
  1. Charles B. Blankart, 2013. "Public Choice: A Survey," CESifo Working Paper Series 4102, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Simon Luechinger & Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, 2008. "Why Does Unemployment Hurt the Employed? Evidence from the Life Satisfaction Gap between the Public and the Private Sector," Working papers 2008/02, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
  3. Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2014. "Are Public Sector Workers Different? Cross-European Evidence from Elderly Workers and Retirees," IZA Discussion Papers 8238, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Duha T. Altindag & Junyue Xu, . "The Impact of Institutions and Development on Happiness," Departmental Working Papers 2009-17, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
  5. Paul Frijters & David W. Johnston & Michael A. Shields, 2012. "The Optimality of Tax Transfers: What does Life Satisfaction Data Tell Us?," Discussion Papers Series 450, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  6. Simon Luechinger & Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, 2008. "Why Does Unemployment Hurt the Employed?: Evidence from the Life Satisfaction Gap between the Public and Private Sectors," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 106, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  7. Natalia Danzer, 2013. "Job Satisfaction and Self-Selection into the Public or Private Sector: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 169, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  8. Yamamura, Eiji, 2010. "The effects of information asymmetry and government size on happiness: A case study from Japan," MPRA Paper 27182, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Robin Zoutenbier, 2014. "The Impact of Matching Mission Preferences on Well-being at Work," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-036/I, Tinbergen Institute.
  10. Luminiţa Ionescu & George Lăzăroiu & Gheorghe Iosif, 2012. "Corruption and bureaucracy in public services," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 14(Special N), pages 665-679, November.
  11. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00565205 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2010. "Happiness and public choice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 144(3), pages 557-573, September.

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