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The organization of political parties and the politics of bureaucratic reform

  • Cruz, Cesi
  • Keefer, Philip

Bureaucratic reform is a priority of donor organizations, including the World Bank, but is notoriously difficult to implement. In many countries, politicians have little interest in the basic financial and personnel management systems that are essential to political oversight of bureaucratic performance. To explain this, this paper presents a new perspective on the political economy of bureaucracy. Politicians in some countries belong to parties that are organized to allow party members to act collectively to limit leader shirking. This is particularly the case with programmatic parties. Such politicians have stronger incentives to pursue public policies that require a well-functioning public administration. Novel evidence offers robust support for this argument. From a sample of 439 World Bank public sector reform loans in 109 countries, the paper finds that public sector reforms are more likely to succeed in countries with programmatic political parties.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6686.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2013
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6686
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  1. 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, edition 1, number 9780226401713.
  2. 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.
  3. Bawn, Kathleen, 1997. "Choosing Strategies to Control the Bureaucracy: Statutory Constraints, Oversight, and the Committee System," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(1), pages 101-26, April.
  4. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1995. "Institutions And Economic Performance: Cross-Country Tests Using Alternative Institutional Measures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(3), pages 207-227, November.
  5. Weingast, Barry R & Moran, Mark J, 1983. "Bureaucratic Discretion or Congressional Control? Regulatory Policymaking by the Federal Trade Commission," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(5), pages 765-800, October.
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