In the article, “Merit, Tenure, and Bureaucratic Behavior: Evidence From a Conjoint Experiment in the Dominican Republic,” Schuster and Oliveros find that merit exams to enter the civil service help reduce corruption and increase work motivation, while tenure security makes bureaucrats less likely to participate in electoral spheres. In order to determine this, they used a conjoint experiment model which helped them asses how bureaucrats reacted and interacted with topics like corruption, political services, and work motivation. This has great implications for many developing countries as it outlines concrete actions that can be taken to enhance state capacity.
I found that this article may help guide me towards certain goals in this class, because of the number of pathways of potential research. In that, I mean that it did a good job setting up the current state at which research is in the field of bureaucracies. It set up the positions of both Weber and Wilson thoroughly yet concisely near the beginning of the paper then continued to, I’ll say, compare them against the findings of less renown research. Following that, the paper goes on to explain how current research could be expanded uppon. Specifically what I found interesting is the different levels of embeddedness in the East Asian countries, referencing two authors: Lipsky and Evans. I think it would be interesting to bring that sort of evaluation of embeddedness to countries in other regions.
This article by Schuster proves that when bureaucracies are politicized, the quality and accuracy of policy knowledge in the state is negatively affected. What I found interesting is how bureaucratic politicization vs. professionalism could be a very strong indicator of bureaucratic autonomy. Furthermore, because Schuster alleges that higher politicization results in lower bureaucratic capacity, I wonder if we could theorize that higher politicization leads to lower bureaucratic autonomy, and therefore lower bureaucratic capacity (note that this is different than state capacity, which Fukuyama focused on in his 2013 article).
A way to take this theory further would be to see if this could be applied to a country which isn’t multiparty, where politicization is harder to measure (Schuster’s case study is Argentina). If we can derive bureaucratic capacity scores in a country like the U.S., then we should theoretically find a correlation with bureaucratic autonomy, and maybe discover the politicization of an agency/bureaucracy. I’d be interested in taking this approach with the U.S. FEVS data.
From Merit, Tenure, and Bureaucratic Behavior: Evidence From a Conjoint Experiment in the Dominican Republic, Schuster and Oliveros concluded that merit based recruitment (examination) enhances the quality of bureaucracy, in this case, enhancing work motivation, lowering corruption, and also enhances the democracy (electoral competition). Job stability, however, only enhances the quality of democracy. Because merit based selection creates a more politically neutral public service, which will be less likely to help parties with electoral efforts.