Dimensions of Bureaucracy: A Cross-National Dataset on the Structure and Behavior of Public Administration
Scholars have emphasized the importance of having a “Weberian bureaucracy” for the socio-economic development of a country, but few attempts have been made to measure public administrations according to their degree of Weberianism. This paper presents the study and questionnaire design of a web survey covering 58 countries, which embodies the largest cross-national dataset on the structure of public administrations up to date. It also provides the main findings from the dataset: The features often associated with a Weberian bureaucracy can neither theoretically nor empirically be collapsed into a single dimension (Weberian versus a patronage-based administration). Instead two distinct dimensions are identified, in the paper referred to as professionalism (i.e. up to which extent bureaucracies are “professional” vis-à-vis “politicized”) and closedness (i.e. up to which extent bureaucracies are more “closed” or public-like vis-à-vis “open” or private-like). Finally, the paper validates these dimensions with information from other available data sources, and demonstrates that the results have not been produced by respondent perception bias.
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