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.
For me, the readings make a lot of very similar points, but all of them have their own nuances which make many arguments actually very different. One thing many of them agree on, specifically Fukuyama and Carl & Victor, is that the power and importance that civil service has is dramatically overlooked by many. Fukuyama takes this point and then describes the ways to measure the effectiveness and actually just how difficult that is. Though he goes through problems with all the different approaches, the main theme seemed to be the outcomes and products of a bureaucracy are all so endogenous that it is difficult to measure precisely what works and what doesn’t. He strongly asserts, however, that a largely autonomous bureaucracy is the strongest bureaucracy. While I understood his reasoning for this, I feel like this argument is very situation based and that in many places a largely autonomous bureaucracy would have too many risks to be the best option.
In the “The Types of Legitimate Domination” Roth and Witch begin by setting up a definition of Domination based on the idea that “every genuine form of domination implies a minimum of voluntary compliance” (212). They add, while things like motivation, or reasons for compliance do not matter, the beliefs in legitimacy remains the single most important thing from which groups draw their power. They then show their theory as it applies to the government saying that legitimacy and authority lead naturally to governmental bureaucracy, and how that same bureaucracy based on false legitimacy, can lead to corruption.
They later go through the different types of legitimacy; Rational, Traditional, and Charismatic. Legal authority being “the pure type” as it relies on (in theory) two equal parties entering into an agreement. Traditional authority being inherently unequal as one person is seen as below the other. And finally Charismatic grounds being the least tangible, or based purely on want to follow, rather than obligation.
What I found interesting about this article is the way Fukuyama defines the relationship between bureaucratic autonomy and capacity. Instead of following Weberian ideals which many believe would increase bureaucratic effectiveness, Fukuyama asserts that states with high institutionalization and capacity should have bureaucrats with high autonomy and flexibility. While he centers the article around measuring autonomy, I wonder how this could be researched given the lack of consensus on how to study capacity. Perhaps the size of bureaucracies and their education levels could indicate the capacity of a state? How could we give a country recommendations on their bureaucratic autonomy if we can’t measure their capacity in the first place?
Four sentence summary of ‘What is Governance’ by Fukuyama
Fukuyama defines Governance as the function of an executive branch of a state, and it is measured in 4 ways. The first measurement is Procedural, or how it the state functions: defined through 10 conditions. The second is the capacity of the state, principally measured by how well the state can extract taxes. The third is the outcomes of the stat’s actions, and the forth is how much autonomy individuals who work in the state have.
Weber develops a theory of the forms of legitimate domination in society (rational, traditional and charismatic forms of domination), which roughly define the bases of the legitimacy of power/influence in a given society and condition the types of organizations to be found within each of these types of domination. He then argues that bureaucracy is the organizational form developing within the framework of the rational form of domination and proceeds to give an ideal–typical description of bureaucracy, that is, a highly formalized and hierarchical form of organization characterized by the predominance of written rules and procedures, formalized tasks, precise definitions of competence, clear lines of subordination, the explicit separation of ownership and management responsibility, and the merit principle as the only legitimate route of access to the different functions in the organization. He sees the unifying dynamics at work, pushing towards the development and generalization of bureaucratic organizations as they are both legitimate and more efficient and the roots of this greater efficiency essentially in the fact that the arbitrary imposition of power and the resulting interpersonal conflicts are limited by written rules and procedures which allow for more rational, foreseeable, and standardized execution of tasks.