Especially in the Morris reading it was interesting to see how in 1999 the author discussed the long history in the country. The rule of the PRI and President Salinas ended in 1997 and the article says Mexico had a “historically unique opportunity” to combat corruption and increase transparency. I find this interesting because the small amount of information I know about the Mexican government revolves around the most recent presidential transition from Pena Nieto to AMLO. After he left office, Pena Nieto was found to have been bribed. While I do not know if many changes occurred in the last two decades, it appears that although the situation was ripe for reform, nothing significantly changed the corrupt nature of the government.
This article provides a very in depth overview of both the long history of Indian bureaucracy, its structure today, and the corruption it faces and possible reforms. Starting in the medieval period, the state had the capacity to collect taxes and conduct trade, and this moved into English colonization which created a strong bureaucracy to further the interests of the UK, but for only the British and eventually a limited group of Indian citizens. When India gained independence again, they have structured their bureaucracy into groups based on importance, A, B, C, D. The system is dominated by the Weberian principle that bureaucratic work is impersonal, creating a system where procedure precedes results.
The 8 million civil servants makes up 50% of organized employment in the country, which causes many to believe the government is oversized. Corruption has grown rapidly in recent years. There is much more to this article as it provides wide ranging information.
You may have noticed that the book title is capability and not capacity, and even in writing it out for this post I flipped them around originally. In this chapter the authors dive into how they define capability differently than capacity, why it matters in their analysis and even why it matters in policy implementation. They define capability as the “ability of an organization to equip, enable and induce” their bureaucrats to make the right choices to achieve the correct outcome. Capacity is the individual’s ability to recognize and act correctly, but capability is the organization or institutional setup to allow the individuals to produce the correct outcomes. This is not to say that capability is only due to country-level features such as laws. Creating functional and capable organizations is not a top down or a bottom up process, rather one that must be looked at as a whole.
Jakob Svensson attempts to answer eight questions about corruption, ranging from the basic question of “what is corruption?” to diving into different theories of reducing corruption. He discusses the strong logarithmic relationship between GDP per capita and corruption, and how higher wages and increased competition may not actually lead to decreased corruption. In his conclusion he brings up the case of China, which has grown quickly but is ranked among the most corrupt countries, and poses two questions: is corruption less harmful to China? Or could the nation’s growth have been even quicker if corruption was decreased?
In When the Victor Cannot Claim the Spoils: Institutional Incentives for Professionalizing Patronage States, Christian Schuster found that a divided government with a new executive seeking reelection can incentivize meritocratic reforms of bureaucratic institutions. Because the legislative body is not controlled by the executive’s party, meritocratic reforms will keep the legislature from continuing patronage programs while courting electoral support.
Hi I’m Tommy. I’m a sophomore at Davidson College.