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Public sector efficiency and political culture

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  • Raffaela Giordano

    ()
    (Bank of Italy)

  • Pietro Tommasino

    ()
    (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

The capability of a country's public sector to provide high-quality goods and services in a cost-effective way is crucial to fostering long-term growth. In this paper we study the determinants of public service efficiency (PSE) and in particular the role of citizens' political values. Indeed, we argue that citizens' willingness to invest time and effort monitoring public affairs is necessary if policy-makers are to be held accountable for what they do and deterred from wasting public resources. Contrary to other papers, our empirical analysis exploits within-country variation, therefore reducing the risk of omitted variable bias and implicitly controlling for differences in formal institutions. First, we compute PSE measures for several public services (namely education, civil justice, healthcare, childcare and waste disposal) for the 103 Italian provinces; then we show that a higher degree of political engagement increases PSE. This remains true even after controlling for the possible endogeneity of political culture. In our analysis, values specifically related to the political sphere are kept distinct from generically pro-social values. Our results suggest that the latter have no independent impact on PSE.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 786.

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Date of creation: Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_786_11

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Keywords: public spending; efficiency; culture;

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Cited by:
  1. Amanda Carmignani & Francesco Bripi & Raffaela Giordano, 2011. "The quality of public services in Italy," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 84, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  2. Graziano Abrate & Federico Boffa & Fabrizio Erbetta & Davide Vannoni, 2013. "Corruption, Accountability and Efficiency. An Application to Municipal Solid Waste Services," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 316, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  3. Marcin, Piatkowski, 2009. "The Coming Golden Age of New Europe," MPRA Paper 19523, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Antonio Bubbico, 2013. "Administrative Continuity: Enhancer or Constraint for Regional Governments' Efficiency?," ERSA conference papers ersa13p493, European Regional Science Association.
  5. Marcella Corsi & Carlo D'Ippoliti, 2013. "The productivity of the public sector: A Classical view," PSL Quarterly Review, Economia civile, vol. 66(267), pages 403-434.
  6. Silvia Giacomelli & Carlo Menon, 2012. "Firm Size and Judicial Efficiency in Italy: Evidence from the Neighbour's Tribunal," SERC Discussion Papers 0108, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  7. Corsi, Marcella & D'Ippoliti, Carlo & Gumina, Andrea & Battisti, Michele, 2006. "eGEP Economic Model: Final Report on the Benefits, Costs and Financing of eGovernment," MPRA Paper 34396, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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