Perils of politicization: adding the perspective of public officials to the study of bureaucracy and corruption in post-communist Europe
Meyer-Sahling, Jan-Hinrik and Mikkelsen, Kim Sass (2016) Perils of politicization: adding the perspective of public officials to the study of bureaucracy and corruption in post-communist Europe. Public Administration . ISSN 0033-3298 (In Press)
Research on bureaucracy and corruption tends to concentrate on cross-national research taking countries as the unit of analysis. Yet national-level measures neglect large differences within countries. This paper therefore takes the perspective of individual bureaucrats. It studies how public officials’ experience with bureaucratic institutions affects corruption within their sphere of work. Based on a survey of central government officials in five post-communist states, the paper examines the impact of civil service laws, the quality of their implementation, merit recruitment and the politicization of appointments on rumors of kickbacks in respondents’ work organization. The analysis shows that merit recruitment is associated with less corruption, while politicization is associated with more corruption. In contrast, civil service laws matter only if they are properly implemented. The findings complement and qualify country-level research, providing micro-foundations of the relation between bureaucracy and corruption.
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