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Letter Grading Government Efficiency

  • Chong, Alberto
  • La Porta, Rafael
  • Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio
  • Shleifer, Andrei

We mailed letters to non-existent business addresses in 159 countries (10 per country), and measured whether they come back to the return address in the United States and how long it takes. About 60% of the letters were returned, taking over six months, on average. The results provide new objective indicators of government efficiency across countries, based on a simple and universal service, and allow us to shed light on its determinants. The evidence suggests that both technology and management quality influence government efficiency, just as they do that of the private sector.

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File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/12111439/38978/letters_sep26_2013_jeea.pdf
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File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/12111439/38978/appendices_sep26_2013_jeea.pdf
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Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 12111439.

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Date of creation: 2014
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Publication status: Published in Journal of the European Economic Association
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:12111439
Contact details of provider: Postal: Littauer Center, Cambridge, MA 02138
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Fax: 617-495-7730
Web page: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/

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  1. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2009. "The Origins of State Capacity: Property Rights, Taxation, and Politics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1218-44, September.
  2. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Fighting Corruption to Improve Schooling: Evidence from a Newspaper Campaign in Uganda," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 259-267, 04/05.
  3. Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," NBER Working Papers 11753, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2011. "Electoral Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from the Audits of Local Governments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1274-1311, June.
  5. Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Eight Questions about Corruption," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 19-42, Summer.
  6. Rauch, James E & Evans, Peter B., 1999. "Bureaucratic Structure and Bureaucratic Performance in Less Developed Countries," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt0sb0w38d, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  7. Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Why do management practices differ across firms and countries?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 47491, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  8. Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2006. "Measuring and Explaining Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," NBER Working Papers 12216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Papaioannou, Elias & Siourounis, Gregorios, 2008. "Economic and Social Factors Driving the Third Wave of Democratization," CEPR Discussion Papers 6986, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie & Maximo Torero & Angelino Viceisza, 2014. "Lost In The Mail: A Field Experiment On Crime," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 285-303, 01.
  11. Ferraz, Claudio & Finan, Frederico S., 2007. "Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil’s Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 2836, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Nicholas Bloom & Aprajit Mahajan & David McKenzie & John Roberts, 2010. "Why Do Firms in Developing Countries Have Low Productivity?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 619-23, May.
  13. Robert J. Barro, 1999. "Determinants of Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S158-S183, December.
  14. Nazmul Chaudhury & Jeffrey Hammer & Michael Kremer & Karthik Muralidharan & F. Halsey Rogers, 2006. "Missing in Action: Teacher and Health Worker Absence in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 91-116, Winter.
  15. Ritva Reinikka & Jakob Svensson, 2004. "Local Capture: Evidence From a Central Government Transfer Program in Uganda," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 678-704, May.
  16. Lewis, William W., 2004. "The Power of Productivity," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226476766.
  17. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
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