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Letter Grading Government Efficiency

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

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 US and how long it takes. About 60% of the letters were returned, taking over 6 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://scholar.harvard.edu/shleifer/node/38978
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Paper provided by Harvard University OpenScholar in its series Working Paper with number 38978.

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Handle: RePEc:qsh:wpaper:38978
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  1. Nick Bloom & John Van Reenen, 2010. "Why do Management Practices Differ Across Firms and Countries?," CEP Occasional Papers 26, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. 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.
  3. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2007. "The Origins of State Capacity: Property Rights, Taxation, and Politics," NBER Working Papers 13028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Benjamin A. Olken, 2007. "Monitoring Corruption: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 200-249.
  6. Robert J. Barro, 1999. "Determinants of Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S158-S183, December.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Jakob Svensson, 2005. "Eight Questions about Corruption," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 19-42, Summer.
  12. Claudio Ferraz & Frederico Finan, 2009. "Electoral Accountability and Corruption: Evidence from the Audits of Local Governments," NBER Working Papers 14937, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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).
  16. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
  17. Lewis, William W., 2004. "The Power of Productivity," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226476766, March.
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