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Cooking the Books: Bureaucratic Politicization and Policy Knowledge

Boräng, F; Cornell, A; Grimes, M; Schuster, JWC; (2017) Cooking the Books: Bureaucratic Politicization and Policy Knowledge. Governance 10.1111/gove.12283. Green open access

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Abstract

Accurate knowledge about societal conditions and public policies is an important public good in any polity, yet governments across the world differ dramatically in the extent to which they collect and publish such knowledge. This article develops and tests the argument that this variation to some extent can be traced to the degree of bureaucratic politicization in a polity. A politicized bureaucracy offers politicians greater opportunities to demand from bureaucrats—and raises incentives for bureaucrats to supply—public policy knowledge that is strategically biased or suppressed in a manner that benefits incumbents reputationally. Due to electoral competition, we suggest that the link between bureaucratic politicization and politicized policy knowledge will be stronger in democracies than in autocracies. A case analysis of Argentina's statistical agency lends credence to the underlying causal mechanism. Time-series cross-sectional analyses confirm the broader validity of the expectations and show that the relationship is present only in democracies.

Type: Article
Title: Cooking the Books: Bureaucratic Politicization and Policy Knowledge
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/gove.12283
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1111/gove.12283
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1537240
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