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Public Employment and the Double Role of Bureaucrats


  • Dahlberg, Matz

    () (Department of Economics)

  • Mörk, Eva

    () (Institute for Labour Market Policy Evaluation)


Bureaucrats in the government sector have a double role since they are both suppliers and demanders of public employment; they are publicly employed (supply labor) and they have an important say in deciding the size of the municipal employment (demand labor). In this paper we present and estimate a theoretical model that focuses on this double role of bureaucrats. The predictions from the theoretical model are supported by our empirical results: The estimates, based on data from Swedish municipalities 1990–2002, show that wages have smaller effects on the demand for bureaucrats than on the demand for other types of public employees. Actually, wages have no significant effect on the number of bureaucrats the municipality employs.

Suggested Citation

  • Dahlberg, Matz & Mörk, Eva, 2005. "Public Employment and the Double Role of Bureaucrats," Working Paper Series 2005:3, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2005_003

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gary Miller, 1977. "Bureaucratic compliance as a game on the unit square," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 37-51, March.
    2. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1978. "Political resource allocation, controlled agendas, and the status quo," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 27-43, December.
    3. Courant, Paul N & Gramlich, Edward M & Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1979. "Public Employee Market Power and the Level of Government Spending," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(5), pages 806-817, December.
    4. Dahlberg, Matz & Lindstrom, Tomas, 1998. "Are Local Governments Governed by Forward Looking Decision Makers?: An Investigation of Spending Patterns in Swedish Municipalities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 254-271, September.
    5. Bailey, Stephen J & Connolly, Stephen, 1998. "The Flypaper Effect: Identifying Areas for Further Research," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(3-4), pages 335-361, June.
    6. Dixit, Avinash K & Londregan, John, 1994. "The Determinants of Success of Special Interests in Redistributive Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 1054, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Jorid Kalseth & Jørn Rattsø, 1998. "Political Control of Administrative Spending: The Case of Local Governments in Norway," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 63-83, March.
    8. Bergstrom, Pal & Dahlberg, Matz & Mork, Eva, 2004. "The effects of grants and wages on municipal labour demand," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 315-334, June.
    9. Romer, Thomas & Rosenthal, Howard, 1982. "Median Voters or Budget Maximizers: Evidence from School Expenditure Referenda," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 20(4), pages 556-578, October.
    10. Matz Dahlberg & Eva Johansson, 2000. "An examination of the dynamic behaviour of local governments using GMM bootstrapping methods," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(4), pages 401-416.
    11. Breton, Albert & Wintrobe, Ronald, 1975. "The Equilibrium Size of a Budget-maximizing Bureau: A Note on Niskanen's Theory of Bureaucracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 195-207, February.
    12. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-1426, November.
    13. Gregory, Robert G. & Borland, Jeff, 1999. "Recent developments in public sector labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 53, pages 3573-3630 Elsevier.
    14. Matz Dahlberg & Eva Johansson, 1998. "The revenues-expenditures nexus: panel data evidence from Swedish municipalities," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(10), pages 1379-1386.
    15. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1979. "Bureaucrats Versus Voters: On the Political Economy of Resource Allocation by Direct Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(4), pages 563-587.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jie Chen, 2006. "The Dynamics of Housing Allowance Claims in Sweden: A Discrete Time-Hazard Analysis," European Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 1-29, April.
    2. Svaleryd, Helena & Vlachos, Jonas, 2009. "Political rents in a non-corrupt democracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 355-372, April.
    3. Martin Sˆderstrˆm & Roope Uusitalo, 2010. "School Choice and Segregation: Evidence from an Admission Reform," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 112(1), pages 55-76, March.
    4. van den Berg, Gerard J & Lindeboom, Maarten & Dolton, Peter J, 2004. "Survey non-response and unemployment duration," Working Paper Series 2004:12, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    5. Matz Dahlberg & Heléne Lundqvist Nilsson & Eva Mörk, 2008. "Intergovernmental Grants and Bureaucratic Power," CESifo Working Paper Series 2430, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Johansson, Fredrik & Klevmarken, Anders, 2006. "Explaining the size and nature of response in a survey on health status and economic standard," Working Paper Series 2006:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    7. John Gibson, 2007. "The Public Sector Pay Premium and Compensating Differentials in the New Zealand Labour Market," Working Papers in Economics 07/20, University of Waikato.
    8. Berg, Lennart & Berger, Tommy, 2005. "The Q theory and the Swedish housing market –an empirical test," Working Paper Series 2005:19, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    9. Ahlin, Åsa & Mörk, Eva, 2008. "Effects of decentralization on school resources," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 276-284, June.

    More about this item


    Public employment; bureaucrats; dynamic model;

    JEL classification:

    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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