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Bureaucracy and Growth

Cornell, Agnes LU ; Knutsen, Carl Henrik and Teorell, Jan LU (2020) In Comparative Political Studies
Abstract

We revisit the hypothesis that a Weberian bureaucracy enhances economic growth. Theoretically, we develop arguments for why such a bureaucracy may enhance growth and discuss plausible counterarguments. Empirically, we use new measures capturing various Weberian features in countries across the world, with some time series extending back to 1789. The evidence base from previous large-N studies is surprisingly thin, but our extensive data enable us to move beyond the problematic cross-country correlations used in previous studies. Hence, we conduct tests that control for country-specific characteristics while ensuring sufficient variation on the slow-moving bureaucracy variables to enable precise estimation. Our analysis suggests that... (More)

We revisit the hypothesis that a Weberian bureaucracy enhances economic growth. Theoretically, we develop arguments for why such a bureaucracy may enhance growth and discuss plausible counterarguments. Empirically, we use new measures capturing various Weberian features in countries across the world, with some time series extending back to 1789. The evidence base from previous large-N studies is surprisingly thin, but our extensive data enable us to move beyond the problematic cross-country correlations used in previous studies. Hence, we conduct tests that control for country-specific characteristics while ensuring sufficient variation on the slow-moving bureaucracy variables to enable precise estimation. Our analysis suggests that previous cross-country regressions have vastly overstated the strength of the relationship. While this casts uncertainty on the proposition that there is an effect of Weberian bureaucracy on growth, our further analysis suggests that—if an effect exists—it may operate in the short term and be stronger in recent decades.

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author
; and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
bureaucracies, economic growth, politics of growth/development, Weberian bureaucracy
in
Comparative Political Studies
publisher
SAGE Publications
external identifiers
  • scopus:85083375147
ISSN
0010-4140
DOI
10.1177/0010414020912262
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
c6480e49-489e-4b9b-9480-5286910421ee
date added to LUP
2020-05-07 17:47:27
date last changed
2020-05-08 01:57:23
@article{c6480e49-489e-4b9b-9480-5286910421ee,
  abstract     = {<p>We revisit the hypothesis that a Weberian bureaucracy enhances economic growth. Theoretically, we develop arguments for why such a bureaucracy may enhance growth and discuss plausible counterarguments. Empirically, we use new measures capturing various Weberian features in countries across the world, with some time series extending back to 1789. The evidence base from previous large-N studies is surprisingly thin, but our extensive data enable us to move beyond the problematic cross-country correlations used in previous studies. Hence, we conduct tests that control for country-specific characteristics while ensuring sufficient variation on the slow-moving bureaucracy variables to enable precise estimation. Our analysis suggests that previous cross-country regressions have vastly overstated the strength of the relationship. While this casts uncertainty on the proposition that there is an effect of Weberian bureaucracy on growth, our further analysis suggests that—if an effect exists—it may operate in the short term and be stronger in recent decades.</p>},
  author       = {Cornell, Agnes and Knutsen, Carl Henrik and Teorell, Jan},
  issn         = {0010-4140},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {04},
  publisher    = {SAGE Publications},
  series       = {Comparative Political Studies},
  title        = {Bureaucracy and Growth},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0010414020912262},
  doi          = {10.1177/0010414020912262},
  year         = {2020},
}