Bureaucratic Efficiency and Bloat


in Rich Democracies

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2002 | ISBN: 9780520231764
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928336 | DOI:
Bureaucratic Efficiency and Bloat

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  • Comparative and Historical Sociology


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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

Chapter.  8747 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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