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Civil Service Rules and Policy Choices: Evidence from US State Governments

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  • Gergely Ujhelyi

    () (University of Houston)

Abstract

This paper studies the policy impact of civil service regulations, exploiting reforms undertaken by US state governments throughout the 20th century. These reforms replaced political patronage with a civil service recruited based on merit and protected from politics. I find that state politicians respond to these changes by spending relatively less through the reformed state-level bureaucracies. Instead, they allocate more funds to lower level governments. The reallocation of expenditures leads to reduced long-term investment by state governments.

Suggested Citation

  • Gergely Ujhelyi, 2013. "Civil Service Rules and Policy Choices: Evidence from US State Governments," Working Papers 201303249, Department of Economics, University of Houston.
  • Handle: RePEc:hou:wpaper:201303249
    as

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    File URL: http://www.uh.edu/econpapers/RePEc/hou/wpaper/201303249.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 2003. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 7-73, March.
    2. Alberto Alesina & Guido Tabellini, 2007. "Bureaucrats or Politicians? Part I: A Single Policy Task," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 169-179, March.
    3. Rauch, James E. & Evans, Peter B., 2000. "Bureaucratic structure and bureaucratic performance in less developed countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 49-71, January.
    4. Stephen Coate & Brian Knight, 2011. "Government Form and Public Spending: Theory and Evidence from US Municipalities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 82-112, August.
    5. Alesina, Alberto & Tabellini, Guido, 2008. "Bureaucrats or politicians? Part II: Multiple policy tasks," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 426-447, April.
    6. Ujhelyi, Gergely, 2014. "Civil service reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 15-25.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:50:y:1956:i:04:p:1046-1056_06 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. F. Andrew Hanssen, 2004. "Is There a Politically Optimal Level of Judicial Independence?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 712-729, June.
    9. Johnson, Ronald N. & Libecap, Gary D., 1994. "The Federal Civil Service System and the Problem of Bureaucracy," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226401713.
    10. Oriana Bandiera & Andrea Prat & Tommaso Valletti, 2009. "Active and Passive Waste in Government Spending: Evidence from a Policy Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1278-1308, September.
    11. Terry M. Moe, 2006. "Political Control and the Power of the Agent," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 1-29, April.
    12. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 2000. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages 672-694, November.
    13. Ronald N. Johnson & Gary D. Libecap, 1994. "The Federal Civil Service System and The Problem of Bureaucracy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number john94-1.
    14. Craig, Steven G & Inman, Robert P, 1982. "Federal Aid and Public Education: An Empirical Look at the New Fiscal Federalism," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(4), pages 541-552, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ujhelyi, Gergely, 2014. "Civil service reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 15-25.
    2. Enikolopov, Ruben, 2014. "Politicians, bureaucrats and targeted redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 74-83.
    3. repec:ksa:szemle:1717 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Valsecchi, Michele, 2016. "Corrupt Bureaucrats: The Response of Non-Elected Officials to Electoral Accountability," Working Papers in Economics 684, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    5. Sutirtha Bagchi, 2013. "The Effects of Political Competition on the Funding and Generosity of Public-Sector Pension Plans," 2013 Papers pba941, Job Market Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    civil service rules; bureaucracy; intergovernmental transfers; patronage;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures

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