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Individuals and Organizations as Sources of State Effectiveness, and Consequences for Policy Design

Author

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  • Best, Michael
  • Hjort, Jonas
  • Szakonyi, David

Abstract

How much of the variation in state effectiveness is due to the individuals and organizations responsible for implementing policy? We investigate this question and its implications for policy design in the context of public procurement, using a text-based product classification method to measure bureaucratic output. We show that effective procurers lower bid preparation/submission costs, and that 60% of within-product purchase-price variation across 16 million purchases in Russia in 2011-2015 is due to the bureaucrats and organizations administering procurement processes. This has dramatic policy consequences. To illustrate these, we study a ubiquitous procurement policy: bid preferences for favored firms (here domestic manufacturers). The policy decreases overall entry and increases prices when procurers are effective, but has the opposite impact with ineffective procurers, as predicted by a simple endogenous-entry model of procurement. Our results imply that the state's often overlooked bureaucratic tier is critical for effectiveness and the make-up of optimal policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Best, Michael & Hjort, Jonas & Szakonyi, David, 2017. "Individuals and Organizations as Sources of State Effectiveness, and Consequences for Policy Design," CEPR Discussion Papers 11968, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11968
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rodrigo Carril & Mark Duggan, 2018. "The Impact of Industry Consolidation on Government Procurement: Evidence from Department of Defense Contracting," NBER Working Papers 25160, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Andrew Dustan & Juan Manuel Hernandez-Agramonte & Stanislao Maldonado, 2018. "Motivating bureaucrats with non-monetary incentives when state capacity is weak: Evidence from large-scale," Natural Field Experiments 00664, The Field Experiments Website.
    3. Khan, Adnan Q. & Khwaja, Asim Ijaz & Olken, Benjamin A., 2019. "Making moves matter: experimental evidence on incentivizing bureaucrats through performance-based postings," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 100339, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Dustan, Andrew & Maldonado, Stanislao & Hernandez-Agramonte, Juan Manuel, 2018. "Motivating bureaucrats with non-monetary incentives when state capacity is weak: Evidence from large-scale field experiments in Peru," MPRA Paper 90952, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Francesco Amodio & Jieun Choi & Giacomo de Giorgi & Aminur Rahman, 2018. "Bribes vs. Taxes: Market Structure and Incentives," Working Papers id:12919, eSocialSciences.
    6. Carril, Rodrigo & Duggan, Mark, 2020. "The impact of industry consolidation on government procurement: Evidence from Department of Defense contracting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 184(C).
    7. Adnan Q. Khan & Asim Ijaz Khwaja & Benjamin A. Olken, 2018. "Making Moves Matter: Experimental Evidence on Incentivizing Bureaucrats through Performance-Based Postings," NBER Working Papers 24383, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Hoekman, Bernard & Sanfilippo, Marco, 2018. "Firm performance and participation in public procurement: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," CEPR Discussion Papers 12752, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Barbosa, Klenio & Straub, St├ęphane, 2017. "The Value of Revolving Doors in Public Procurement," TSE Working Papers 17-873, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised May 2020.
    10. Estache, Antonio & Foucart, Renaud, 2018. "The scope and limits of accounting and judicial courts intervention in inefficient public procurement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 95-106.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    bureaucrats; policy design; Procurement; public sector organizations; state capacity;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy

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