Sustaining Honesty in Public Service: The Role of Selection
AbstractWe study the role of self-selection into public service in sustaining honesty in the public sector. Focusing on the world's least corrupt country, Denmark, we use a survey experiment to document strong self-selection of more honest individuals into public service. This result differs sharply from existing findings from more corrupt settings. Differences in pro-social versus pecuniary motivation appear central to the observed selection pattern. Dishonest individuals are more pecuniarily motivated and self-select out of public service into higher-paying private sector jobs. Accordingly, we find that increasing public sector wages would attract more dishonest candidates to public service in Denmark.
CitationBarfort, Sebastian, Nikolaj A. Harmon, Frederik Hjorth, and Asmus Leth Olsen. 2019. "Sustaining Honesty in Public Service: The Role of Selection." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 11 (4): 96-123. DOI: 10.1257/pol.20170688
- D73 Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
- H83 Public Administration; Public Sector Accounting and Audits
- J31 Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
- J45 Public Sector Labor Markets