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The Problem of an Autonomous Bureaucracy in Transition Economies: Lessons from the American Experience

Listed author(s):
  • Libecap Gary D.

    (University of Arizona & National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge)

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    This article examines difficulties with bureaucratic reform for transitional economies, drawing on the American experience. Bureaucracies have incentive and performance problems that could retard economic growth in transitional economies. A remedy for a politicized corrupt bureaucracy is an autonomous, professional bureaucracy, chosen on the basis of merit. This article argues, however, such a move will not necessarily bring improvement. Political controls over the bureaucracy must be developed and inserted so that the bureaucracy has incentives to be more efficient and to be more responsive to changing citizen demands. The American experience indicates that absent such provisions, a highly-protected, professional bureaucracy can engage in opportunism to advance its interests and those interests may not coincide with promoting economic growth.Cet article examine les difficultés auxquelles font face les tentatives de réforme de la bureaucratie dans les économies en transition en sinspirant de lexpérience américaine. Les questions dincitation et linefficacité des bureaucraties pourraient retarder la croissance économique dans les économies en transition. Une bureaucratie autonome, professionnelle, choisie sur la base du mérite est un remède à une bureaucratie politiquement corrompue. Cependant, cet article soutient quune telle démarche nengendre pas nécessairement des améliorations. Il faut en plus élaborer des contrôles politiques de la bureaucratie afin que celle-ci soit incitée à être plus efficace et davantage sensible aux besoins changeants des citoyens. Lexpérience américaine indique quen labsence de telles dispositions, une bureaucratie professionnelle et très protégée peut se comporter de manière opportuniste en cherchant à promouvoir ses propres intérêts, pas toujours compatibles avec laccélération de la croissance économique.

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    Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines.

    Volume (Year): 11 (2001)
    Issue (Month): 1 (March)
    Pages: 1-13

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    Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:11:y:2001:i:1:n:4
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    1. Johnson, Ronald N & Libecap, Gary D, 1989. "Agency Growth, Salaries and the Protected Bureaucrat," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 27(3), pages 431-451, July.
    2. Weingast, Barry R & Moran, Mark J, 1983. "Bureaucratic Discretion or Congressional Control? Regulatory Policymaking by the Federal Trade Commission," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(5), pages 765-800, October.
    3. Johnson, Ronald N & Libecap, Gary D, 1991. "Public Sector Employee Voter Participation and Salaries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 68(1-3), pages 137-150, January.
    4. Johnson Ronald N. & Libecap Gary D., 1994. "Patronage to Merit and Control of the Federal Government Labor Force," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 91-119, January.
    5. Johnson, Ronald N & Libecap, Gary D, 1989. "Bureaucratic Rules, Supervisor Behavior, and the Effect on Salaries in the Federal Government," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 53-82, Spring.
    6. Gordon Tullock, 1974. "Dynamic hypothesis on bureaucracy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 127-131, September.
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