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Determinants of service quality in bureaucracy: Parkinson's theory at work

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  • Jochimsen, Beate

Abstract

Parkinson's law states that work expands to fill the time available for its completion and that the number of administrators in an office is bound to increase over time. An unique laboratory to test Parkinson's ideas are vehicle registration offices in Germany. Using their data we found empirical support for Parkinson's law: First, service quality is no better in offices that have more staff per case. Second, service quality is worse if the service procedure is disaggregated into multiple smaller sub-services. Third, the staff size is a convex function of the number of customers. These results are robust to specifications in various alternative models.

Suggested Citation

  • Jochimsen, Beate, 2007. "Determinants of service quality in bureaucracy: Parkinson's theory at work," Discussion Papers 2007/11, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:200711
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    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/28056/1/541757393.PDF
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. McKee, Michael & Wintrobe, Ronald, 1993. "The decline of organizations and the rise of administrators : Parkinson's Law in theory and practice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 309-327, July.
    2. Genaro J. Gutierrez & Panagiotis Kouvelis, 1991. "Parkinson's Law and Its Implications for Project Management," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 37(8), pages 990-1001, August.
    3. Lindsay, Cotton M & Feigenbaum, Bernard, 1984. "Rationing by Waiting Lists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 404-417, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bureaucracy; Parkinson's law; Waiting time; Service Quality; Queueing Theory;

    JEL classification:

    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies

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