Cornell University

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Competence and Control: The Effect of Democratization on the Civil Service

Thursday, June 24, 2021 at 10:00am

Virtual Event

Join the Southeast Asia Program (SEAP) and the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre for our upcoming IS4 webinar exploring the effect of democratization on Indonesia's civil service.

Does democratization lead to more meritocracy in the civil service? In this webinar, Associate Professor Jan Pierskalla argues that electoral accountability increases the value of competence over personal loyalty in the civil service. While this resembles an application of merit principles, it does not lead to an automatic reduction in patronage politics. In the context of elections in low-income countries, competent civil servants are used to facilitate the distribution of clientelistic goods at mass-scale to win competitive elections. The selection of competent but less loyal civil servants also requires the increased use of control mechanisms, like the timing of promotions, to ensure compliance by civil servants. Associate Professor Jan Pierskalla tests these claims using novel micro-level data on promotions in Indonesia's civil service before and after democratization in 1999.

We warmly invite you to join Associate Professor Jan Pierskalla, Ohio State University, in conversation with Professor Tom Pepinsky, Cornell University to explore the effect of democratization on Indonesia's civil service. The conversation will be moderated by Assistant Professor Jessica Soedirgo from the University of Amsterdam.

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