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FGGA Research Seminar: Organizing Leviathan: Politicians, Bureaucrats and the Making of Good Government

  • Carl Dahlström
Thursday 18 May 2017
FGGA Research Seminar Series Spring 2017
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP The Hague

In the seminar, Carl Dahlström will present his new book Organizing Leviathan: Politicians, Bureaucrats and the Making of Good Government (Cambridge University Press, 2017), which is co-authored with Victor Lapuente.

Why are some countries less corrupt and better governed than others? Challenging conventional explanations on the remarkable differences in quality of government across the globe, the book argues that the organization of bureaucracy is an often overlooked but critical factor. Countries where merit-recruited employees occupy public bureaucracies perform better than those where public employees owe their post to political connections. The book provides a coherent theory of why, and ample evidence showing that meritocratic bureaucracies are conducive to lower levels of corruption, higher government effectiveness, and more flexibility to adopt modernizing reforms. Data comes from both a novel dataset on the bureaucratic structures of over 100 countries as well as from narratives of particular countries, with a special focus on the relationship between politicians and bureaucrats in Spain and Sweden. A notable contribution to the literature in comparative politics and public policy on good governance, and to corruption studies more widely.

Short biography of Carl Dahlström

Carl Dahlström is Professor, Associate Head of Department and Director of Graduate Studies at the Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg. He is also a research fellow at the Quality of Government Institute. His research is concerned with comparative and historical perspectives on public administration, administrative reforms and welfare state policymaking. Dahlström’s most recent work is on the effects of bureaucratic institutions – such as the terms of employment for key bureaucrats – on corruption and state capacity in a comparative perspective. His papers have appeared or are due to appear in journals such as the Journal of Politics, Governance, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Journal of European Public Policy and Party Politics.

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