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Traveling Agents: Political Change and Bureaucratic Turnover in India

Author

Listed:
  • Lakshmi Iyer

    (Harvard Business School)

  • Anandi Mani

    (University of Warwick)

Abstract

We develop a framework to empirically examine how politicians with electoral pressures control bureaucrats with career concerns and the consequent implications for bureaucrats' career investments. Unique microlevel data on Indian bureaucrats support our key predictions. Politicians use frequent reassignments (transfers) across posts of varying importance to control bureaucrats. High-skilled bureaucrats face less frequent political transfers and lower variability in the importance of their posts. We find evidence of two alternative paths to career success: officers of higher initial ability are more likely to invest in skill, but caste affinity to the politician's party base also helps secure important positions. © 2012 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Lakshmi Iyer & Anandi Mani, 2012. "Traveling Agents: Political Change and Bureaucratic Turnover in India," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(3), pages 723-739, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:94:y:2012:i:3:p:723-739
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Julio Alberto Ramos-Pastrana, 2017. "Who's Getting the Office? Autocracy And Elected Politicians' Career Path: Evidence from the Mexican States," Caepr Working Papers 2017-008 Classification-D, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
    2. Frederico Finan & Benjamin A. Olken & Rohini Pande, 2015. "The Personnel Economics of the State," NBER Working Papers 21825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jonathan Lehne & Jacob N. Shapiro & Oliver Vanden Eynde, 2016. "Building connections: Political corruption and road construction in India," Working Papers halshs-01349350, HAL.
    4. Muhammad Haseeb & Kate Vyborny, 2016. "Imposing institutions: Evidence from cash transfer reform in Pakistan," CSAE Working Paper Series 2016-36, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    5. Claire Lim, 2009. "Turnover and Accountability of Appointed and Elected Judges," 2009 Meeting Papers 190, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Enikolopov, Ruben, 2014. "Politicians, bureaucrats and targeted redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 74-83.
    7. Matthieu Chemin, 2012. "Welfare Effects of Criminal Politicians: A Discontinuity-Based Approach," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(3), pages 667-690.
    8. Pranab Bardhan, 2016. "State and Development: The Need for a Reappraisal of the Current Literature," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(3), pages 862-892, September.
    9. Khan, Adnan Q. & Khwaja, Asim Ijaz & Olken, Benjamin A., 2016. "Making Moves Matter: Experimental Evidence on Incentivizing Bureaucrats through Performance-Based Transfers," Working Paper Series rwp17-006, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    10. Labonne, Julien, 2016. "Local political business cycles: Evidence from Philippine municipalities," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 56-62.
    11. Pranab Bardhan, 2015. "State and Economic Development: The Need for a Reappraisal of the Current Literature," Working Papers id:7060, eSocialSciences.
    12. Afridi, Farzana, 2017. "Governance and Public Service Delivery in India," IZA Discussion Papers 10856, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Sam Asher & Paul Novosad, 2017. "Politics and Local Economic Growth: Evidence from India," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 229-273, January.
    14. Catalina Tejada & Eliana Ferrara & Henrik Kleven & Florian Blum & Oriana Bandiera & Michel Azulai, 2015. "State Effectiveness, Growth, and Development," Working Papers id:6668, eSocialSciences.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    career concerns; bureaucracy; bureaucrat reassignment;

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights

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