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Civil Service Rules and Policy Choices: Evidence from US State Governments

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  • Gergely Ujhelyi

Abstract

This paper studies the policy impact of civil service regulations, exploiting reforms undertaken by US state governments throughout the twentieth century. These reforms replaced political patronage with a civil service recruited based on merit and protected from politics. I find that state politicians respond to these changes by spending relatively less through the reformed state-level bureaucracies. Instead, they allocate more funds to lower level governments. The reallocation of expenditures leads to reduced long-term investment by state governments.

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  • Gergely Ujhelyi, 2014. "Civil Service Rules and Policy Choices: Evidence from US State Governments," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 338-380, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:6:y:2014:i:2:p:338-80
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.6.2.338
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Gibbs, 2020. "Civil service reform, self‐selection, and bureaucratic performance," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(2), pages 279-304, July.
    2. Ujhelyi, Gergely, 2014. "Civil service reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 15-25.
    3. Enikolopov, Ruben, 2014. "Politicians, bureaucrats and targeted redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 74-83.
    4. Ujhelyi, Gergely, 2017. "A köztisztviselői törvények hatása a kormányzati kiadásokra [The effects of civil-service legislation on government spending]," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(9), pages 885-914.
    5. Ash, Elliott & Morelli, Massimo & Vannoni, Matia, 2019. "Divided Government, Delegation, and Civil Service Reform," CEPR Discussion Papers 13878, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Sebastian Garmann, 2020. "Voter turnout and public sector employment policy," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 845-868, October.
    7. Bostashvili, David & Ujhelyi, Gergely, 2019. "Political budget cycles and the civil service: Evidence from highway spending in US states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 17-28.
    8. Valsecchi, Michele, 2016. "Corrupt Bureaucrats: The Response of Non-Elected Officials to Electoral Accountability," Working Papers in Economics 684, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    9. Sebastian Garmann, 0. "Voter turnout and public sector employment policy," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-24.
    10. Sutirtha Bagchi, 2013. "The Effects of Political Competition on the Funding and Generosity of Public-Sector Pension Plans," 2013 Papers pba941, Job Market Papers.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • H79 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Other

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