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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. 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).
    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. Jonas Hjort & Diana Moreira & Gautam Rao & Juan Francisco Santini, 2021. "How Research Affects Policy: Experimental Evidence from 2,150 Brazilian Municipalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 111(5), pages 1442-1480, May.
    4. Adnan Q. Khan & Asim Ijaz Khwaja & Benjamin A. Olken, 2019. "Making Moves Matter: Experimental Evidence on Incentivizing Bureaucrats through Performance-Based Postings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(1), pages 237-270, January.
    5. 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.
    6. Chiappinelli, Olga, 2020. "Decentralization and Public Procurement Performance: New Evidence from Italy," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 856-880.
    7. Bucciol, Alessandro & Camboni, Riccardo & Valbonesi, Paola, 2020. "Purchasing medical devices: The role of buyer competence and discretion," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    8. Francesco Amodio & Jieun Choi & Giacomo de Giorgi & Aminur Rahman, 2018. "Bribes vs. Taxes: Market Structure and Incentives," Working Papers id:12919, eSocialSciences.
    9. Tukiainen, Janne & Blesse, Sebastian & Bohne, Albrecht & Giuffrida, Leonardo M. & Jääskeläinen, Jan & Luukinen, Ari & Sieppi, Antti, 2021. "What are the priorities of bureaucrats? Evidence from conjoint experiments with procurement officials," ZEW Discussion Papers 21-033, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    10. 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.
    11. Barbosa, Klenio & Straub, Stéphane, 2017. "The Value of Revolving Doors in Public Procurement," TSE Working Papers 17-873, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised May 2020.
    12. 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;
    All these keywords.

    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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