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Democracy, Autocracy and Bureaucracy

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  • Dixit Avinash K

    (Princeton University)

Abstract

Democratic and autocratic rulers alike must use a bureaucracy to implement policy. In each case the optimal policy is a second-best solution to this agency problem, giving the bureaucrat some economic rent for information revelation and effort incentive. This paper argues that autocrats are less willing to sacrifice rents, and therefore accept a worse second-best (here less of a public good) than democrats. It also finds a synergistic matching between a democratic ruler and an altruistic bureaucrat who internalizes the citizens' welfare. This synergy is absent for autocrats, but they can gain by extorting from highly altruistic agencies like NGOs.

Suggested Citation

  • Dixit Avinash K, 2010. "Democracy, Autocracy and Bureaucracy," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-47, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:globdv:v:1:y:2010:i:1:n:1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kenneth Rogoff, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-1189.
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    6. Casey B. Mulligan & Ricard Gil & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2004. "Do Democracies Have Different Public Policies than Nondemocracies?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 51-74, Winter.
    7. Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2009. "Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671422, May.
    8. Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 2001. "Incentives and Political Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199248681.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alessandro Petretto, 2015. "Le specificità dei processi di revisione della spesa pubblica locale," ECONOMIA PUBBLICA, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2015(1), pages 157-175.
    2. Libman, Alexander, 2013. "Natural resources and sub-national economic performance: Does sub-national democracy matter?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 82-99.
    3. Roberto Ricciuti & Antonio Savoia & Kunal Sen, 2018. "What determines administrative capacity in developing countries?," WIDER Working Paper Series 013, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Alexander Libman, 2012. "Democracy, size of bureaucracy, and economic growth: evidence from Russian regions," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 1321-1352, December.
    5. Aleksandar Vasilev, 2013. "On the cost of rent-seeking by government bureaucrats in a Real-Business-Cycle framework," Working Papers 2013_20, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.

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