The Ambiguous Effects of Democracy on Bureaucratic Quality

Research output: Working paper

Abstract

Recent studies find that higher degrees of democracy are related to higher levels of bureaucratic quality. However, they only offer limited explanations for this pattern based on a unidimensional understanding of democracy. We argue that future uncertainties as perceived by the incumbent, the opposition, and voters are important for why bureaucratic reform takes place. Therefore, we expect no uniform effects of democracy but that the effect depends on the socioeconomic status of the median voter. Empirically, we examine the separate effects of three dimensions of democracy – competitive elections, legislative constraints on the executive, and suffrage. Based on a global sample of countries from 1790 to 2016 that adds historical depth and variation on bureaucratic quality and the dimensions of democracy, the results show that competitive elections and legislative constraints are connected with higher levels of bureaucratic quality. However, the third dimension of suffrage is not related to bureaucratic quality. Rather, the positive effects of competitive elections and legislative constraints seem to decrease in times of large suffrage extensions.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Aarhus University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science

Keywords

Original languageEnglish
PublisherLund University
Pages1-47
Number of pages47
StatePublished - 2018 May

Publication series

NameSTANCE Working Papers Series
No.3
Volume2018

Related projects

Jan Teorell, Jens Bartelson, Annika Björkdahl, Hanna Bäck, Augustín Goenaga, Martin Hall, Sara Kalm, Johannes Lindvall, Ellen Ravndal, Ted Svensson, Alexander von Hagen-Jamar, Linda Eitrem Holmgren, Lina Hjärtström & Moa Olin

The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation

2015/01/012020/12/31

Project: ResearchInternal collaboration (LU)

View all (1)