WHAT LINKS LACK OF MERITOCRACY TO CORRUPTION? A study of the public administration in Kosovo
The organization of the public administration has been a subject of debate since the time of former US. President Woodrow Wilson (1887). The focus has been on whether the civil servants should be politically appointed or recruited based on their merits. Existing research has shown a correlation between meritocracy and corruption, more specifically that a higher level of meritocracy is associated with a lower level of corruption (Rauch & Evans, 2000; Dahlström et.al, 2012). This thesis aims to study the proposed causal mechanisms that is suggested to explain this correlation. By taking a qualitative approach with informant interviews, this study gets an in-depth look into how the mechanisms function in practice. The thesis examines the public administration in Kosovo on the municipal level. The results show that all the mechanisms proposed by existing literature are prevalent, but they do not all play out as anticipated. As expected, there is an alignment of interest between the politicians and civil servants due to the political influence over the civil servants’ carriers. Moreover, esprit de corps seems to be non-existing overall, nonetheless some aspects seem to be in place, such as civil service laws. Surprisingly, the mechanism called competitive salaries does not play out as expected. The salaries in the public administration are higher than in the private sector and they are sufficient to live an ordinary life, which should prevent informal payments, but in the case of Kosovo, informal payments are still being made.