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What Drives Public Employment in Developing Countries?


  • Rodrik, Dani


An excessive level of employment is a frequent complaint made about public-sector governance in developing economies. The explanation typically offered is that governments use public-sector employment as a tool for generating and redistributing rents. This article suggests an alternative hypothesis: relatively safe government jobs represent partial insurance against undiversifiable external risk faced by the domestic economy. I show that countries that are greatly exposed to external risk have higher levels of government employment and have experienced faster rates of growth of government consumption. The basic finding on this (partial) correlation is robust against the hypotheses typically offered. Copyright 2000 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Suggested Citation

  • Rodrik, Dani, 2000. "What Drives Public Employment in Developing Countries?," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 229-243, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:4:y:2000:i:3:p:229-43

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1996. "Income Distribution and Growth: The Kuznets Hypothesis Revisited," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(250), pages 103-117, Suppl..
    2. Anand, Sudhir & Kanbur, S. M. R., 1993. "Inequality and development A critique," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 19-43, June.
    3. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1984. "Inequality Decomposition by Population Subgroups," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1369-1385, November.
    4. Fishlow, Albert, 1972. "Brazilian Size Distribution of Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(2), pages 391-402, May.
    5. Ahluwalia, Montek S., 1976. "Inequality, poverty and development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 307-342, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Francois Langot & Shaimaa Yassin, 2016. "Informality, Public Employment and Employment Protection in Developing Countries," IRENE Working Papers 16-09, IRENE Institute of Economic Research.
    2. Arzu Yavuz, 2011. "Productivity and Wage Differentials between Private and Public Sector in the Developing Countries (Gelismekte Olan Ülkelerde Özel ve Kamu Sektöründeki Verimlilik ve Ücret Farklilasmasi)," Working Papers 1103, Research and Monetary Policy Department, Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey.
    3. Caleb Stroup & Ben Zissimos, 2017. "Pampered Bureaucracy, Political Stability and Trade Integration," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(3), pages 425-450, August.
    4. Vlachos, Jonas, 2005. "Does Labour Market Risk Increase the Size of the Public Sector? Evidence from Swedish Municipalities," CEPR Discussion Papers 5091, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Jelena Lausev, 2014. "WHAT HAS 20 YEARS OF PUBLIC–PRIVATE PAY GAP LITERATURE TOLD US? EASTERN EUROPEAN TRANSITIONING vs. DEVELOPED ECONOMIES," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(3), pages 516-550, July.
    6. KaiA. Konrad & SebastianG. Kessing, 2008. "Time Consistency and Bureaucratic Budget Competition," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(525), pages 1-15, January.
    7. Gonzalo Fernández-de-Córdoba & Javier Pérez & José Torres, 2012. "Public and private sector wages interactions in a general equilibrium model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(1), pages 309-326, January.
    8. Sebastian G. Kessing & Chiara Strozzi, 2012. "The Regional Distribution of Public Employment: Theory and Evidence," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 079, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    9. repec:sgh:gosnar:y:2017:i:1:p:5-31 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Natalia Danzer, 2013. "Job Satisfaction and Self-Selection into the Public or Private Sector: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," ifo Working Paper Series 169, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    11. Pierre-Richard Agénor, 2005. "The Analytics of Segmented Labor Markets," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 0529, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    12. Anna Carolina Saba dos Reis & Eduardo Zilberman, 2013. "On the Optimal Size of Public Employment," Textos para discussão 612, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
    13. Gabriela Grotkowska & Leszek Wincenciak & Tomasz Gajderowicz, 2017. "Evolution of the Public-Sector Wage Premium in Poland," Gospodarka Narodowa, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 1, pages 5-31.
    14. Martin Rama, 2002. "Mondialisation, inégalités et politiques de l'emploi," Revue d’économie du développement, De Boeck Université, vol. 10(1), pages 43-83.

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