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: Performance, pay and promotion: implementing a Weberian bureaucracy in nineteenth century Baden


  • Felix Selgert

    () (Department of Economics, University of Mannheim, L7, 3-5, 68131, Mannheim, Germany)


This paper is based on the difference between the formal introduction of a Weberian bureaucracy and its actual implementation through state officials. This difference between the formal institutional framework and its actual implementation could lead to failed reforms. On the other side, there were states which successfully introduced a Weberian bureaucracy like the German state of Baden in the nineteenth century. This paper argues that Civil Service reforms in Baden during the first two decades of the nineteenth century established an internal labor market with a hierarchy of pay levels and clearly defined rules of promotion. These rules of promotion made advancement in the hierarchy, and therefore, an increase in remuneration, inter alia dependent on the performance in regard to administrative processes and rules of professional conduct. This rule generated an incentive to implement the new formal institutional framework, because sticking to the rules led to a monetary reward. The paper tests this hypothesis empirically using a logit as well as a panel regression approach. In doing so, I find that a positive assessment about a district magistrate’s (Amtmann) performance in regard to formal administrative processes and rules of professional conduct increased his probability of promotion by 81 %. The paper also finds incentive mechanisms like a shirking wage. However, it seems that the sound working of these incentive mechanisms took ca. two decades.

Suggested Citation

  • Felix Selgert, 2014. ": Performance, pay and promotion: implementing a Weberian bureaucracy in nineteenth century Baden," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 8(1), pages 79-113, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:afc:cliome:v:8:y:2014:i:1:p:79-113

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    More about this item


    Institutional reform; Administration; Incentive mechanism; Public labor markets; Weberian bureaucracy;

    JEL classification:

    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N93 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets


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