Who gains access to public services? Social Bargaining, Corruption and Street-level Service Provision
Despite massive global investments in public services, sizeable discrepancies remain in terms of people’s needs being met once they are in contact with service providers — what we term effective access. This study investigates the sources of such discrepancies and highlights the importance of social bargaining — where citizen leverage their connections with street-level service providers. Survey data from 34 African countries shows citizens with greater social bargaining capacity enjoy greater effective access to public services, in contrast to citizens that have to resort to paying bribes. We further demonstrate the importance of social bargaining using unique learning assessment data from 70,000 households in Tanzania. Parents with greater social bargaining capacity are more likely to be given opportunities to interact with school officials and are also more likely to take advantage of those opportunities. Moreover, the children of such parents are signif-icantly more likely to achieve relevant and effective learning outcomes.
Link to web site