Daniel Rogger is a PhD in Economics candidate at UCL. He is also a PhD scholar at the Institute for Fiscal Studies. His research focuses on Development Economics, Political Economy and Public Economics.
More details are available at www.danrogger.com
- Development Economics
- Political Economy
- Public Economics
Both politicians and bureaucrats are viewed as critically important agents in growth and public welfare. This paper investigates the causes and consequences of interactions between these agents, along two key margins: which bureaucrats a politician delegates the delivery of public projects to, and the incentives that politicians provide to those bureaucrats. To investigate these issues, I assemble a novel data set from Nigeria, which combines the political careers of politicians, measures of their interactions with bureaucrats, and credible audits of the projects they deliver. I find that politicians facing high levels of political competition are more likely to (1) delegate the implementation of public projects in their constituency to more autonomous organizations; and (2) provide informal incentives to bureaucrats in those organizations. Guided by a moral hazard model, I assess the separate impacts of the delegation and incentive margins using an instrumental variables strategy. I find that delegation to more productive bureaucrats is the key channel through which politicians improve the bureaucracy's output when faced with high levels of political competition. The results have implications for the design of organizations that regulate politicians' interactions with the bureaucracy.