Effects of the Institutional Design of the Civil Service: Evidence from Corruption
International Public Management Journal. 11(4):404-425.
Posted: 2 Apr 2006 Last revised: 20 Jan 2015
Date Written: 2008
The purpose of this paper is to test the direct effect of the structure of the civil service on public perceptions of corruption. Numerous studies suggest a relationship between the design of civil service systems and corruption, but few studies actually test this theoretical link. We hypothesize that corruption levels depend on the presence or absence of particular civil service policies, including job duties, tenure and security provisions, discipline policy, and rules on rewards and bargaining rights; we also assess the impact of wages on corruption levels. We test these hypotheses using World Bank data from a collection of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Central and Eastern European countries. Using a variety of univariate and multivariate tests, we find no statistically-significant relationships between civil service structure and corruption; however, we find occasional evidence that corruption levels are lower in countries with higher total government wage bills. While our conclusions are largely exploratory, we argue that there is no strong and significant evidence that the variations in civil service systems we observe in our data are causing public perceptions of corruption.
Keywords: Civil service, corruption, institutional design
JEL Classification: D73, M50, N40, O57
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation