Public sector efficiency and political culture
AbstractThe 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 InfoPaper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 786.
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
public spending; efficiency; culture;
Other versions of this item:
- C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
- H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
- H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
- Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-02-19 (All new papers)
- NEP-CIS-2011-02-19 (Confederation of Independent States)
- NEP-EFF-2011-02-19 (Efficiency & Productivity)
- NEP-PBE-2011-02-19 (Public Economics)
- NEP-POL-2011-02-19 (Positive Political Economics)
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