Bureaucracy and Service Delivery

Posted: 15 May 2017

See all articles by Thomas B. Pepinsky

Thomas B. Pepinsky

Cornell University - Department of Government

Jan Pierskalla

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Political Science

Audrey Sacks

World Bank

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2017


This article reviews the literature on the politics of bureaucracy in the developing world, with a focus on service delivery and bureaucratic performance. We survey classic topics and themes such as the developmental state, principal–agent relations, and the efficient grease hypothesis, and we link them to new research findings in political science, sociology, and economics. We identify the concept of embeddedness as an important yet still underexplored framework that cuts across disciplines and may be used to understand bureaucratic performance and service delivery. Looking forward, we outline a framework for conceptualizing bureaucratic action by exploiting variation across time, space, task, and client, and we identify promising areas for further research on the bureaucrat–citizen encounter in developing countries.

Suggested Citation

Pepinsky, Thomas B. and Pierskalla, Jan and Sacks, Audrey, Bureaucracy and Service Delivery (May 2017). Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 20, pp. 249-268, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2968064 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-polisci-051215-022705

Thomas B. Pepinsky (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Department of Government ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Jan Pierskalla

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Audrey Sacks

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics