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Bureaucratic rents and life satisfaction


Luechinger, Simon; Meier, Stephan; Stutzer, Alois (2007). Bureaucratic rents and life satisfaction. Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization, 24(2):476-488.

Abstract

Institutions affect bureaucrats' possibilities to acquire rents; they determine the degree of accountability and responsiveness of officials and of political control of the bureaucracy and, thereby, the size and distribution of rents in the public sphere. Those rents can involve higher wages, monetary and nonmonetary fringe benefits, and bribes. We propose a direct measure to capture the total of these rents: the difference in subjective well-being between bureaucrats and people working in the private sector. In a sample of 42 countries, we find large variations in the extent of rents in the public bureaucracy. The extent of rents is determined by differences in institutional and political constraints. In particular, we find judicial independence to be of major relevance for a tamed bureaucracy. Further, our measure for rents correlates with indicators of regulatory policies and perceptions of corruption. (JEL D72, D73, I31, J30, J45)

Abstract

Institutions affect bureaucrats' possibilities to acquire rents; they determine the degree of accountability and responsiveness of officials and of political control of the bureaucracy and, thereby, the size and distribution of rents in the public sphere. Those rents can involve higher wages, monetary and nonmonetary fringe benefits, and bribes. We propose a direct measure to capture the total of these rents: the difference in subjective well-being between bureaucrats and people working in the private sector. In a sample of 42 countries, we find large variations in the extent of rents in the public bureaucracy. The extent of rents is determined by differences in institutional and political constraints. In particular, we find judicial independence to be of major relevance for a tamed bureaucracy. Further, our measure for rents correlates with indicators of regulatory policies and perceptions of corruption. (JEL D72, D73, I31, J30, J45)

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:National licences > 142-005
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Economics and Econometrics
Social Sciences & Humanities > Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
Social Sciences & Humanities > Law
Language:English
Date:29 November 2007
Deposited On:31 Oct 2018 17:02
Last Modified:15 Apr 2021 14:49
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:8756-6222
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/jleo/ewm057

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