Patterns towards Effective Policy Implementation in Patrimonialist Bureaucracies

  • This thesis seeks to respond to the central question of how successful public policies could be obtained in countries whose bureaucracies are predominantly considered as ‘patrimonialist’. To respond to this guiding question, and by departing from existing public administration on bureaucratic professionalism and policy effectiveness, I formulate that the different conjunction of institutional incentives, motivations and abilities of policy actors might structure varied patterns of effective policy delivery in patrimonialist contexts. Drawing on this framework, three arguments are advanced in this dissertation. First, I sustain that in patrimonialist bureaucracies, politicians have powered access to shape the inclusion and promotion of bureaucrats therefore being central for policy delivery. Second, I sustain that because politicians are central for policy delivery, I suggest that ‘reputation building’ underlies the production of effective policy outputs in patrimonialist bureaucracies. Yet, I also stress that this finding comes with the nuance that in patrimonialist settings politicians not only ‘deliver’, but also reconcile good performance in office with rent extraction. Finally, I also document how ‘politicians’ who acquire ‘expert knowledge’ of the administrative functions of their bureaucracies are endowed with unprecedented access to utilise their resources –hence strategically distributing them to aides and supporters, while sabotaging office when they know they will lose the ballots. Overall, my thesis also finds that tenure (prior office experience) mediates performance in office generally rendering seasoned politicians to be more strategic when it comes to extracting and distributing public goods –meaning that they are more careful in selecting and appointing loyal knowledgeable aides in key positions, manoeuvring key aspects of the bureaucracy especially those related to budgeting. Together, these findings configure three important patterns leading to successful policy delivery in contexts plagued with patronage dynamics: (i) that politicians’ positive perspectives of winning office underlie sound policy delivery, (ii) that older politicians tend to deliver better policies, but also are more detrimental to their country’s bureaucratic capacity, and (iii) that politicians’ who acquire ‘expert knowledge’ deliver better policies, but also extract more rents. Such patterns towards leading to implementation also have important repercussions to public administration and political science scholarship. My contributions are therefore threefold: (i) my thesis advances the comprehension of politicians’ careers and their effects on policy success; (ii) it also formulates novel theoretical frameworks to comprehend the role impact of patronage on policy success, and my thesis (iii) advances ‘expert knowledge utilisation’ theory by documenting the long-ignored functions and utilisation of ‘expert knowledge’ by incumbents in office, and how such usage, is mediated by their tenure.

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Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Author(s):Diego Alonso Salazar Morales
Advisor:Luciana Cingolani, Pedro Pineda, Gabriela Lotta
Hertie Collections (Serial Number):Dissertations submitted to the Hertie School (13/2022)
Publication year:2023
Publishing Institution:Hertie School
Granting Institution:Hertie School
Thesis date:2022/11/22
Number pages:162
Release Date:2022/11/29
Shelf mark: 2022D013 + 2022D013+1
Hertie School Research:Publications PhD Researchers
Licence of document (German):Creative Commons - CC BY - 4.0 International
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