The Motivation and Bias of Bureaucrats
Prendergast, Canice. 2007. "The Motivation and Bias of Bureaucrats."
American Economic Review,
Many individuals are motivated to exert effort because they care about their
jobs, rather than because there are monetary consequences to their actions. The
intrinsic motivation of bureaucrats is the focus of this paper, and three primary
results are shown. First, bureaucrats should be biased. Second, sometimes this
bias takes the form of advocating for their clients more than would their
principal, while in other cases, they are more hostile to their interests. For a
range of bureaucracies, those who are biased against clients lead to more
efficient outcomes. Third, self-selection need not produce the desired bias.
Instead, selection to bureaucracies is likely to be bifurcated, in the sense that it
becomes composed of those who are most preferred by the principal, and those
who are least preferred. (JEL D64, D73, D82)
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