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The organization of political parties and the politics of bureaucratic reform

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  • Cruz, Cesi
  • Keefer, Philip

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Cruz, Cesi & Keefer, Philip, 2013. "The organization of political parties and the politics of bureaucratic reform," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6686, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6686
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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 101-126, April.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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, January.
    6. repec:cup:apsrev:v:103:y:2009:i:01:p:99-112_09 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Smets,Lodewijk & Knack,Stephen, 2015. "World Bank policy lending and the quality of public sector governance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7267, The World Bank.
    2. María Franco Chuaire & Carlos Scartascini & Mariano Tommasi, 2017. "State capacity and the quality of policies. Revisiting the relationship between openness and government size," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(2), pages 133-156, July.
    3. Maria Franco & Carlos Scartascini & Mariano Tommasi, 2014. "State Capacity and the Quality of Policies: Revisiting the Relationship between Openness and the Size of Government," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 86254, Inter-American Development Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public Sector Economics; Public Sector Management and Reform; Public Sector Expenditure Policy; Public Sector Corruption&Anticorruption Measures; Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations and Local Finance Management;

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