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  • Author: Marina Nistotskaya, Michelle D'Arcy
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: The institutional literature on development has emphasized the need to check abuse of power, but overlooked whether the state has power in the first place. Bridging the state capacity and collective action literatures, we argue that since public goods critical for development, such as public health provision, constitute collective action problems (CAPs), and solving CAPs in groups the size of countries requires state high infrastructural power that makes individual behaviour observable/legible, so that it can be monitored and compliance enforced. It is only when democracy is institutionalized within such a state that it can have a positive effect on public goods provision. We test this argument using a novel measure of accumulated infrastructural power – the age, extent and quality of cadastral records – for over 1,000 years for 155 countries. Our analysis shows that this variable has an independent positive effect on infant and child mortality, and it also conditions the effect of democracy. This research has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 339571) and the Swedish Research Council (grant agreement D0112101). The authors thank Robert Ellisa for excellent research assistance.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Anna Khakhunova, Marina Nistotskaya
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: New Public Management (NPM) reforms have been adopted worldwide since the mid-1970s to improve government effectiveness and efficiency. The basic premise of NPM reforms is that market orientation and management focus in the public sector will enhance effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery (Christensen and Lægreid 2010). Although NPM reforms have existed for a quarter century, we still have limited understanding of whether NPM reforms fulfill their expectations. Most importantly, very few empirical studies have been conducted that actually assess the impact of NPM reforms on performance (Alonso, Clifton, and Díaz-Fuentes 2015, Dahlström, Nistotskaya, and Tyrberg 2016, Hammerschmid and Van de Walle 2011). This study helps fill this gap by examining the effect of different NPM-type reforms on municipal performance. In particular, we assess the impact of NPM reforms on three dimensions of municipal performance – gender equity, efficiency and effectiveness – by using a data set of 810 city-level Japanese municipalities. Findings show that municipalities’ overall effort to create NPM reforms is not associated with gender equity and effectiveness in revenue expansion. However, findings suggest that municipalities with a higher commitment to various NPM- type reforms are likely to operate with lower administrative overhead costs. Results also suggest that municipalities’ efforts supporting individual reform, including outsourcing and municipal assets and debt management reform, are associated with higher efficiency in overhead costs and increased revenues from selling municipal assets. This study tests the impacts of NPM-type reforms on municipal performance in an understudied Asian developed setting.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sofia B. Vera
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: The literature studying citizen responses to exposed political corruption is rapidly growing. While some studies explore how information credibility and group identities can reduce the electoral impact of the exposure of corruption, this article addresses different mechanisms for weak electoral accountability for corruption: public works provision and corruption prevalence. It uses a vignette experiment embedded in a national survey in Peru to isolate the causal effect of political corruption on electoral support. The results suggest that even types of corruption with side benefits would be harshly punished when attributed to incompetent politicians. They also indicate that while voters punish corruption more leniently when a candidate is competent, they respond negatively to corruption regardless of the prevalence of corruption, which casts doubt on the idea that voters in highly corrupt environments are tolerant of corruption
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lena Wängnerud
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: There are a growing number of studies with the ambition to present causal reasoning linking the presence of women in political organizations to reductions in levels of corruption. The theoretical mechanisms proposed are however seldom directly tested, instead scholars tend to use designs where a large number of control variables are introduced in order to “rule out” rivalry hypotheses. These designs leave us with a number of loose ends that needs to be more carefully dealt with. The aim of this paper is to introduce a new and comparatively simple way of measuring degrees of femininity and masculinity and discuss whether this approach could add to the understanding of gender effects found in research on corruption. The analysis show that femininity is linked to pro-social values and the suggestion is for future research to focus more on indirect effects on corruption from the inclusion of women in political organizations. Exposure-based theories highlight mechanisms such as changed group norms that may pave the ground for an increased focus on the public good. The data used draws on a large-scale survey among Swedish citizens in 2013.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rasmus Broms, Carl Dahlström, Marina Nistotskaya
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: Against a backdrop of increased levels of marketization of welfare services in OECD countries, this article aims to shed light on the separate effects of private ownership and competition on service quality. Using residential elderly care in Sweden as our case, we leverage unique panel data of ownership and competition against a set of indicators, pertaining to the structure, process and outcome dimensions of care quality. The main finding of our analyses is that competition does surprisingly little for quality: private entrepreneurs perform neither better nor worse under stiff competition and the quality of care is approximately the same in those nursing homes that are exposed to competition from private actors as in those that are not.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gabriella R. Montinola, Sarah Prince
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: The longstanding debate on whether foreign aid promotes development suggests that aid’s efficacy depends on conditions in recipient states. Advocates of gender equality argue that empowering women is desirable not only in its own right but also as a means to other sought-after outcomes. We bring together these issues and argue that women’s empowerment in aid-receiving countries should enhance the effect of foreign aid on child development outcomes. We find support for this argument in analyses of up to 107 developing countries from 1986-2010. Our results indicate that aid is associated with greater reductions in infant mortality where women are more empowered. Furthermore, we find that among the different dimensions of empowerment—political, economic and social—political participation has the strongest and most consistent mediating effect on foreign aid. Our work has implications for research on aid effectiveness, the consequences of gender equality, and the politics of presence
  • Topic: Gender Issues, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gissur Ólafur Erlingsson, Gunnar Helgi Kristinsson
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: The longstanding debate on whether foreign aid promotes development suggests that aid’s efficacy depends on conditions in recipient states. Advocates of gender equality argue that empowering women is desirable not only in its own right but also as a means to other sought-after outcomes. We bring together these issues and argue that women’s empowerment in aid-receiving countries should enhance the effect of foreign aid on child development outcomes. We find support for this argument in analyses of up to 107 developing countries from 1986-2010. Our results indicate that aid is associated with greater reductions in infant mortality where women are more empowered. Furthermore, we find that among the different dimensions of empowerment—political, economic and social—political participation has the strongest and most consistent mediating effect on foreign aid. Our work has implications for research on aid effectiveness, the consequences of gender equality, and the politics of presence
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dragana Davidovic
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: Environmental taxes are argued to be the key to more effective environmental protection in developing countries. This paper investigates whether such taxes have the necessary public support to be successfully implemented in different contexts, including countries outside the Western and European spheres. Applying a multilevel analysis approach, using data from the World Values Survey and International Social Survey Programme, interaction effects between values, political and social trust, and perceived quality of government (QoG) are explored. It is hypothesized that if people lack trust in public authorities to implement green taxes in an efficient, fair and uncorrupt manner, they will be less likely to support such taxes despite their strong pro-environmental values or trust in other people. The results show that people holding green values are more likely to support environmental taxes if they live in countries with high levels of QoG. Moreover, the effect of social trust on support for green taxes appears to be contingent on individual-level political trust rather than the quality of government institutions. These interactions need further exploration since they vary across countries and datasets. While support for environmental taxes is found to be relatively high in some developing countries, public aversion towards higher taxes for environmental protection is still relatively high internationally.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Monika Bauhr, Nicholas Charron
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: What factors explain public support for international redistribution? While the European Union has sent billions of taxpayers’ money to over indebted euro countries in an attempt to avoid an economic collapse, these transfers have encountered fierce resistance among both donor and recipient constituents. However, we know surprisingly little about why citizens support or oppose redistribution within the EU. This paper suggests that domestic levels of corruption and institutional quality may be one of the most important explanations for the great variation in public support for financial assistance and aid. Using recent European Elections Survey data merged with data on regional level quality of government, we show that the effects of institutional quality are consistently stronger than macro-economic factors, including economic development, inequality or levels of public debt. We find strong evidence that citizens’ in low corrupt contexts are more likely to support financial assistance to fellow member states. The results have implications for future challenges in securing public support for EU economic integration as well as for our understanding of how and why corruption undermines society’s collective action capacity
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sverker Jagers, Simon Matti, Katarina Nordblom
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: We analyze the importance of legitimacy and compare how drivers of public policy attitudes evolve across the policy process consisting of the input (i.e., the processes forgoing acquisition of power and the procedures permeating political decision-making), throughput (i.e., the inclusion of and interactions between actors in a governance system), and output (i.e., the substantive consequences of those decisions) stages. Using unique panel data through the three phases of the congestion tax in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, we find that legitimacy is indeed important in explaining policy support. Moreover, we find a lingering effect where support in one phase depends on legitimacy both in the present and in previous phases. Hence, our study takes us one step further on the road to understand the complicated dynamic mechanisms behind the interactions between policy mak- ing, policy support, and the legitimacy and approval of politicians and political processes. Keywords: Policy, Support, Attitudes, Legitimacy, Policy Cycle, Environment, Congestion Tax
  • Topic: Environment, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Sweden
  • Author: Andreas Bagenholm, Stephan Dahlberg, Maria Solevid
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: In this paper, we argue that the effects of corruption on voter turnout not necessarily have to be negative. We argue that voters’ willingness to participate in elections will increase when parties politicize the issue of corruption in electoral campaigns, as it indicates party responsiveness to voter concerns. We test this claim by using individual-level data from CSES coupled with unique context data on party politicization of corruption in campaigns. Our findings show that higher perceived levels of corruption are associated with lower voter turnout but that the negative effect of perceiving high corruption on turnout is reduced in an electoral context where corruption is politicized. The results thus show that if corruption is not politicized, individuals’ corruption perceptions exert a significant negative impact on turnout. By politicizing anti-corruption measures, political parties are acting policy responsive and by that they are also affecting voters’ decision whether to vote or not.
  • Topic: Politics, Political Theory, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand
  • Author: Frida Boräng, Sverker Jagers, Marina Povitkina
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: One of the central questions in research on the drivers behind public good provision is how political regimes and institutions impact the provision of public goods. Previous research within this field has shown that democratic history is positively related to public good provision, including the universal provision of reliable electricity. In this paper, we elaborate on these findings by investigat ing how corruption interacts with democratic history in shaping electricity provision. It is argued that since corruption can shape the implementation process of public policies as well as the policy choices, high levels of corruption are likely to limit the positive effect of democratic experience. Following Min (2015), we measure electricity provision by the share of population living in unlit areas. We find that democratic history leads to higher electrification rates only when corruption is relatively low. In high-corrupt contexts, however, the positive effect of democratic history is absent.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democracy, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gissur Ólafur Erlingsson, Gunnar Helgi Kristinsson
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: The extent of corruption in Iceland is highly contested. International corruption measures indicate a relatively small amount of corruption, while domestic public opinion suggest a serious corruption problem. Thus, uncertainty prevails about the actual extent of corruption and whose perceptions to rely on. This problem is relevant for corruption research in general. Perceptions are increasingly used as proxies for the actual levels of corruption in comparative research. But we still do not know enough about the accuracy of these proxies or the criteria they must meet in order to give depend- able results. In fact, radical differences exist concerning evaluations of perceptions between those who believe in unbiased learning and those believing perceptual bias to be widespread. The purpose of this article is, therefore, to attempt to gauge which factors may influence how perceptions of corruption are shaped and why differences in corruption perceptions between different groups may be so pronounced. We present findings from original survey data from three parallel surveys – among the ‘public’, experts, and ‘municipal practitioners’ – conducted in Iceland in 2014. Expecta- tions based on the perceptual bias approach are tested, indicating that perceptions may be affected by (1) information factors, (2) direct experience of corruption and (3) emotive and/or ideological fac- tors. The validity of perception measures should be considered with this in mind. Domestic experts are likely to be well informed and avoid perceptual bias to a greater extent than other groups. Our examination of the Icelandic case suggests that the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) tends to underestimate corruption problems in ‘mature welfare states’, such as Iceland, whilst the general public tends to overestimate it.
  • Topic: Corruption, Political Theory
  • Political Geography: Iceland
  • Author: Salvador Parrado, Victor Lapuente, Carl Dahlström
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: This paper engages in the debate about how different ways of organizing relations between politicians and bureaucrats affect corruption. Research has established robust correlations between the political autonomy of bureaucracy and low corruption, on both national and regional levels, but there are few studies that explore the causal mechanisms linking these two phenomena. We do so by comparing public procurement processes in two similar Spanish cities, interviewing all important actors. We show that relatively independent bureaucrats—so-called trustees—can act as checks to prevent political moral hazard. Yet, in order for this to occur, other institutions must support the trustee, such as a merit-based human resources policy, rules, and standard operating procedures, transparency and independent watchdogs. There is thus no silver bullet to defend us against corruption, but having these mechanisms in place makes it much more costly for politicians to oppor- tunistically bend public procurement processes to favour bribe-paying contractors.
  • Topic: Corruption, Political Power Sharing
  • Political Geography: Spain
  • Author: Bo Rothstein
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: The following arguments are presented. 1) Corruption in its various forms is a serious social ill. 2) Democracy is not a safe cure against corruption. 3) Increased gender equality seems to be one important factor behind getting corruption under control. 4) Impartiality in the exercise of public power, not least, when it “translates” into meritocratic recruitment and promotion in the public administration, has a powerful effect on lowering corruption. 5) While some aspects of impartiality are central for gender equality, research results are mixed. Some show that impartial principles promotes gender equality, others show that gender bias exists also in many processes designed to be impartial. Going from these results to policy recommendation is thus fraught with many difficulties. One is how to handle problems of legitimacy in the implementation process for various forms of preferential treatment of discriminated groups. Since these problems are impossible to handle, we may be in for a “Churchillian” argument. Like representative democracy, meritocracy may be a far from ideal solution for lowering corruption and thereby promoting human well-being, but it may be the least bad of existing alternatives.
  • Topic: Corruption, Gender Issues, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Niklas Harring, Victor Lapuente
  • Publication Date: 09-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: For many economists government intervention is linked to low levels of interpersonal trust and corruption, while, on the contrary, for many political scientists, government intervention is associ- ated to high trust and low corruption. The goal of this paper is to reconcile these contrasting find ings by distinguishing the differing effects of trust over two alternative types of government intervention: regulation and taxation. Low-trust individuals demand more governmental regulation but less government taxation. We test the hypotheses by focusing on a particular policy – i.e. environmental policy – where governments use different mixes of regulatory and tax mechanisms, and for which we have data on both trust in others (interpersonal trust) and trust in public institutions (in- stitutional trust). The main finding is that those individuals with low trust (both interpersonal and institutional trust) tend to demand, ceteris paribus, more governmental regulation of the environ- ment and, but are less inclined to pay higher taxes to protect the environment. We also find that the effect of institutional trust is stronger than the effect of interpersonal trust, which puts previous studies in a perspective.
  • Topic: Corruption, Government, Regional Cooperation, Regulation, Political structure
  • Political Geography: Global Focus