nep-pbe New Economics Papers
on Public Economics
Issue of 2011‒07‒27
five papers chosen by
Keunjae Lee
Pusan National University

  1. Politics and the geographic allocation of public funds in a semi-democracy: The case of Ghana, 1996-2004. By André, Pierre; Mesplé-Somps, Sandrine
  2. Multi-level Governance of Public Investment: Lessons from the Crisis By Dorothee Allain-Dupré
  3. Efficiency and effectiveness in Romanian local public administration By Nicolae, Andrei
  4. Social Status and Influence: Evidence from an Artefactual Field Experiment on Local Public Good Provision By d'Adda, Giovanni
  5. Modernizing Public Employment in the Public Sector By Shivergueva, Margarita

  1. By: André, Pierre; Mesplé-Somps, Sandrine
    Abstract: The body of literature on purely democratic countries can sometimes fail to explain the behavior of government in semi-democratic African countries. Empirical and theoretical political economic papers and that public funds target ruling party supporters and swing districts. Our results, however, suggest that the opposite was true of Ghana. We observe that pro-government districts received less public investment when the NDC was in power. We posit that this nding is partially driven by the government's will to curry favor with opposition politicians. Indeed, in addition to pursuing its electoral objectives, the government of an emerging democracy may fear political instability and keep the lid on potential unrest by bargaining with opposition leaders. Our analysis also shows that, when controlling for votes and other covariates (including wealth, urbanization and density), public goods allocation is not driven by ethnic group targeting either. --
    Keywords: Public goods,Elections,Politics,Ghana
    JEL: D72 O55 R53
    Date: 2011
  2. By: Dorothee Allain-Dupré
    Abstract: Over 2008-11, most OECD countries switched from highly expansive fiscal policies to the tightest in decades. During the crisis and subsequent recession in 2008-09, many OECD and G20 countries implemented stimulus packages, which in some cases amounted to 4% or more of GDP. On the expenditure side, the fiscal programmes typically focused on public investment. Given their large traditional role in public investment in OECD countries, sub-national governments (SNGs) have played an important role in implementing investment recovery strategies. For future investment strategies it is important to learn about obstacles encountered across levels of government and the instruments that facilitated implementation. The crisis has made more obvious the multi-level governance challenges – in particular fiscal, policy, capacity or administrative challenges – that are inherent to decentralised political systems. Co-ordination across levels of government has proven critical for targeting investment priorities, ensuring coherence in fiscal policy and facilitating the implementation of national strategies during the crisis. As stimulus packages are phased out, many countries are planning some combination of spending cuts and tax increases in 2011-12. To avoid simply shifting the problem from the centre to the regions, co-ordinated efforts from all levels of government are required to accommodate appropriate budget cuts for fiscal consolidation and better prioritise investment in what unlocks each region?s potential to restore growth. Both the stimulus and the process of fiscal consolidation highlight the need to foster and improve policy co-ordination, transparency and information sharing across levels of government.
    Keywords: fiscal consolidation, sub-national government, public investment, crisis, regional development, multi-level governance
    JEL: H5 H6 H7 R1 R5
    Date: 2011–07
  3. By: Nicolae, Andrei
    Abstract: Thinking of the importance of local administration for each state within the framework of the European Union I find it of great interest to carefully analyse the reflection of the European principles for public administration, especially the ones regarding efficiency and effectiveness, in a former communist such as Romania. This paper will address these two concepts also in regards to the way they are used by the public management theoreticians. The study and practice of public administration necessarily involves the clarification and updating of several important concepts. Research using an ambiguous or inconsistent conceptualization of those concepts has the potential of producing questionable findings that can limit the interpretive power of the analysis. Difficulty conceptualizing public sector efficiency and effectiveness in the context of democracy and governance is due in part to varying administrative and political values.
    Keywords: public management; local administration; effectiveness; efficiency; re form
    Date: 2011
  4. By: d'Adda, Giovanni
    Abstract: I look at the effect of social status on transmission of pro-social behavior. In an artefactual field experiment conducted in northern Colombia I observe contribution to local biodiversity conservation. The design varies whether choice is observable or not and social status of observing/observed individuals. Status is derived from a social ranking exercise identifying formal and moral leaders within the community. I find that leaders have higher valuation of the common good and that their giving is less volatile in the face of exposure to participants contributing lower amounts. Social information on others giving is particularly effective when low status participants are able to observe leaders' choices. I interpret the results as evidence in favor of preference-based altruism and upward social comparison theories. The findings confirm those of laboratory experiments on status in a field setting and with naturally occurring leaders. The study has relevant policy implications in terms of targeting of development programs and questions the commonly held negative view of elites in developing countries. --
    Date: 2011
  5. By: Shivergueva, Margarita
    Abstract: Most EU and the Balkans countries have been actively reforming their public sectors for two decades. Initially the problem seemed to be a relatively straightforward one of improving efficiency, reforming management practices, and divesting public involvement in commercial enterprises. These reforms have indeed had a major impact but they have also given rise to some unexpected problems of their own. To complicate matters, governments are now under pressure for more profound changes to meet the requirements of contemporary society. A concern for efficiency is being supplanted by problems of governance, strategy, risk management, ability to adapt to change, collaborative action and the need to understand the impact of policies on society. Focusing on reality ,rather than aspirations, presents a considerable professional challenge for the EU and its Member countries. Public management is complex and difficult to measure, but without some valid form of evaluation, we are slaves to theory, management fads and rhetoric. Upgrading professionalism requires collaborative work on how to identify, track and compare key behavioural changes. We also need to acquire a better understanding of the time required for serious public management interventions: culture change is not achieved overnight, and may take several years. There is also a need to strengthen mutual assistance by putting relatively more effort into peer review and independent observation than in countries' own self - assessment, and by encouraging evaluation of major initiatives once they have been implemented.
    Keywords: Public management; Public Employment
    Date: 2011

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