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Cooking the books: Bureaucratic politicization and policy knowledge

Journal article
Authors Frida Boräng
Agnes Cornell
Marcia Grimes
Christian Schuster
Published in Governance
Volume 31
Issue 1
Pages 7-26
ISSN 0952-1895
Publication year 2018
Published at Quality of Government Institute (QoG)
Department of Political Science
Pages 7-26
Language en
Subject categories Political Science


© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Accurate knowledge about societal conditions and public policies is an important public good in any polity, yet governments across the world differ dramatically in the extent to which they collect and publish such knowledge. This article develops and tests the argument that this variation to some extent can be traced to the degree of bureaucratic politicization in a polity. A politicized bureaucracy offers politicians greater opportunities to demand from bureaucrats-and raises incentives for bureaucrats to supply-public policy knowledge that is strategically biased or suppressed in a manner that benefits incumbents reputationally. Due to electoral competition, we suggest that the link between bureaucratic politicization and politicized policy knowledge will be stronger in democracies than in autocracies. A case analysis of Argentina's statistical agency lends credence to the underlying causal mechanism. Time-series cross-sectional analyses confirm the broader validity of the expectations and show that the relationship is present only in democracies.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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