Research Seminar

Accountability and the Allocation of Bureaucratic Skill: Evidence from India — Sebastian Jävervall

26 Okt 2021


Sebastian Jävervall (Kiel Institute)


An efficient bureaucracy relies crucially on appropriately matching bureaucrats to tasks. However, match quality may be compromised by political rent-seeking. I study the impact of politician disclosure requirements on the assignment of bureaucrats to public posts. I collect detailed information on bureaucrats' qualifications and construct a novel measure of mismatch—an index measuring the extent to which a bureaucrat is under- or overqualified to perform a specific task. Using the staggered implementation of Indian state elections for identification, I find that information disclosure reduces mismatch. This reduction is larger in posts that are more important for policy implementation and for tasks that bureaucrats perceive to be more prestigious. Moreover, I find that bureaucrats with greater skill are more likely to reach prestigious positions in more transparent states. Taken together, the results show that transparency reforms promote meritocracy within public organizations. 


Sebastian Jävervall (Kiel Institute)


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