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Political Accountability and Real Authority of Government Bureaucracy

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  • Marina Dodlova

Abstract

In a country with weak institutional constraints on the executive, the real power might belong to the government bureaucracy rather than to an autocratic leader. We combine the Aghion-Tirole definition of formal and real authority with the Barro-Ferejohn model of political agency to study the relationship between the accountability of elected politicians and the extent to which their subordinate bureaucrats have real decision-making power. We show that the lower is the level of political accountability, the lower should be real authority at the bottom of the government hierarchy. Empirically, we find that in countries with lower political accountability those in political power have less authority over the public administration. On the contrary, countries with higher political accountability have bigger governments in terms of administration employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Marina Dodlova, 2013. "Political Accountability and Real Authority of Government Bureaucracy," CESifo Working Paper Series 4443, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4443
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Vasilev, Aleksandar, 2013. "On the cost of rent-seeking by government bureaucrats in a Real-Business-Cycle framework," SIRE Discussion Papers 2013-84, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    2. Matt Andrews & Lant Pritchett & Michael Woolcock, 2016. "Managing Your Authorizing Environment in a PDIA Process," CID Working Papers 312, Center for International Development at Harvard University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    political accountability; bureaucracy; real authority; decision-making; government employment;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government

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