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Rich DemocraciesPolitical Economy, Public Policy, and Performance$
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Harold Wilensky

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520231764

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520231764.001.0001

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Bureaucratic Efficiency and Bloat

Bureaucratic Efficiency and Bloat

Chapter:
(p.344) 9 Bureaucratic Efficiency and Bloat
Source:
Rich Democracies
Author(s):

HAROLD L. WILENSKY

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520231764.003.0009

This chapter examines the relationship between bureaucratic efficiency and bloat and the expansion of the welfare state. It proposes two crude measures of efficiency and of bureaucratic bloat to test the idea that big spenders achieve economies of scale. The findings validate the hypothesis that at high levels of development the welfare state enjoys economies of scale, like an insurance company with a broad base of clients. This chapter also attempts to explain convergence and divergence in the size of bureaucracies and the national differences in nonmilitary public employees as a percentage of the civilian labor force for nineteen rich democracies.

Keywords:   bureaucratic efficiency, bureaucratic bloat, welfare state, economies of scale, convergence, divergence, nonmilitary public employees, civilian labor force, rich democracies

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