NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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David Szakonyi

Department of Political Science
George Washington University
2115 G St. NW
Suite 440
Washington, DC 20052

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Institutional Affiliation: George Washington University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2017Individuals and Organizations as Sources of State Effectiveness
with Michael Carlos Best, Jonas Hjort: w23350
Policymakers do not implement states’ policies—bureaucrats do. How important are bureaucrats in determining the productivity of the state enterprise? To what extent do the tradeoffs between different policies—and hence optimal policy design—depend on the effectiveness of the bureaucracy tasked with implementation? We investigate these questions in the context of public procurement. Using data on 16 million purchases in Russia during 2011–2016, we first show that over 40 percent of the variation in quality-adjusted prices paid—our measure of performance—is due to the individual bureaucrats and organizations that manage procurement processes. Our estimates imply that ineffective bureaucracies massively reduce public sector output: moving the least effective quartile of procurers to 75th perc...
 
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