Bad Politicians, Good Bureaucrats: Modelling Public Sector Corruption and Bureaucratic Reliability
In this paper, by defining bureaucratic reliability as the choice to improve social welfare by selecting an efficient firm in a procurement environment, I show that the nature of the principal determines the existence of a high, intermediate or low reliability equilibrium. The main findings are that the corruption of the political principals may induce a bureaucratic reliability trap, that dishonest principals are associated with fewer public-minded individuals in the bureaucracy, and that the corruption of the political regime and the level of economic development may also affect bureaucratic recruitment. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3809410
Red Tape, Performance Pay and The Developmental State Bureaucracy
Do common intuitions about the role of red tape and pay-for- performance apply generally to bureaucracies in the context of a developmental state? In the public administration literature, red tape (defined broadly as formalized constraints on bureaucratic decision-making) has been identified as a factor for low organizational performance and employee outcomes. Similarly, performance pay contracts are theorized to induce higher effort levels in public servants. This paper argues that the general theories of public sector efficiency are based on advanced bureaucracies and fail to account for the specific exogenous constraints faced by developing countries; the elimination of red tape and establishing high-powered incentive contracts may lead to lower performance than the status quo. I model a setting with misaligned performance measures and the imposition of external red tape as an instrument to make the imperfect measure align more closely with the bureaucrats’ effort and show that in such a case, high-powered incentives such as pay-for-performance compounds the multi-tasking problem.
Works in Progress
A Formal Theory Of Gender Quotas
Accountability in the Politics of Bureaucracy: A Principal-Supervisor-Agent Model