Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-cfpbc Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-23T06:44:47.666Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Outsourcing Bureaucracy to Evade Accountability: How Public Servants Build Shadow State Capacity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 September 2022

JESSICA A. J. RICH*
Affiliation:
Marquette University, United States
*
Jessica A. J. Rich, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Marquette University, United States, jessica.rich@marquette.edu.

Abstract

The solution to weak bureaucratic capacity in developing countries is often presumed to be more accountability. This paper shows how accountability initiatives, intended to reduce corruption, can actually hinder the development of capable government agencies by making it harder for directors to recruit experts and spend their budgets. It further highlights a common way public servants escape the accountability rules that limit their effectiveness: outsourcing bureaucracies to nonstate organizations. This practice of outsourcing bureaucracy to avoid accountability rules creates what I call “shadow” state capacity and, paradoxically, it may help explain “pockets of effectiveness” among government social programs in developing countries. Drawing on in-depth interviews and descriptive statistics, I show how outsourcing was a critical factor in producing two of Brazil’s most vaunted social sector programs. However, I also suggest that outsourcing bureaucracy may ultimately limit state capacity, even if it helps to build capable programs in the short run.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Political Science Association

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Abers, Rebecca. 2019. “Bureaucratic Activism: Pursuing Environmentalism inside the Brazilian State.” Latin American Politics and Society 61 (1): 2144.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Abers, Rebecca, and Tatagiba, Luciana. 2015. “Institutional Activism: Mobilizing for Women’s Health from inside the Brazilian Bureaucracy.” In Social Movement Dynamics: New Perspectives on Theory and Research from Latin America, eds. Rossi, Federico and von Bülow, Marisa, 73101. Farnham, UK: Ashgate.Google Scholar
Abers, Rebecca, and Keck, Margaret. 2013. Practical Authority: Agency and Institutional Change in Brazilian Water Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Abrucio, Fernando, Maria Rita Loureiro, and Regina Silvia Pacheco, eds. 2010. Burocracia e Política no Brasil: Desafio para o Estado Democrático no Século XXI. Rio de Janeiro: Editora de Fundação Getulio Vargas.Google Scholar
Acemoglu, Daron, and Robinson, James A.. 2012. Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty. New York: Crown Publishers.Google Scholar
Ang, Yuen Yuen. 2017. “Beyond Weber: Conceptualizing an Alternative Ideal Type of Bureaucracy in Developing Contexts.” Regulation and Governance 11 (3): 282–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Arnquist, Sarah, Andrew Ellner, and Rebecca Weintraub. 2011. “Questões relativas à Provisão Universal de Saúde.” Harvard Case Study.Google Scholar
Avis, Eric, Ferraz, Claudio, and Finan, Frederico. 2018. “Do Government Audits Reduce Corruption? Estimating the Impacts of Exposing Corrupt Politicians.” Journal of Political Economy 126 (5): 1912–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bersch, Katherine. 2019. When Democracies Deliver: Governance Reform in Latin America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bersch, Katherine, Praça, Sérgio, and Taylor, Matthew. 2017a. “Bureaucratic Capacity and Political Autonomy within National States: Mapping the Archipelago of Excellence in Brazil.” In States in the Developing World, eds. Centeno, Miguel, Yashar, Deborah J., and Mistree, Dinsha, 157183. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bersch, Katherine, Praça, Sérgio, and Taylor, Matthew. 2017b. “State Capacity, Bureaucratic Politicization, and Corruption in the Brazilian State.” Governance 30 (1): 105–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bertelli, Anthony M., Hassan, Mai, Honig, Dan, Rogger, Daniel, and Williams, Martin J.. 2020. “An Agenda for the Study of Public Administration in Developing Countries.” Governance 33 (4): 735–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berwick, Elissa, and Fontini, Christia. 2018. “State Capacity Redux: Integrating Classical and Experimental Contributions to an Enduring Debate.” Annual Review of Political Science 21:7191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Biradavolu, Monica, Blankenship, Kim M., George, Annie, and Dhungana, Nimesh. 2015. “Unintended Consequences of Community-Based Monitoring Systems: Lessons from an HIV Prevention Intervention for Sex Workers in South India.” World Development 67:110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Blöndal, Jón R., Goretti, Chiara, and Kristensen, Jens Kromann. 2003. “Budgeting in Brazil.” OECD Journal on Budgeting 3 (1): 97131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Boulding, Carew E., and Gibson, Clark C.. 2008. “Supporters or Challengers? The Effects of Nongovernmental Organizations on Local Politics in Bolivia.” Comparative Political Studies 42 (4): 47500.Google Scholar
Bozeman, Barry, and Feeney, Mary K.. 2011. Rules and Red Tape: A Prism for Public Administration Theory and Research. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
Brass, Jennifer N. 2016. Allies or Adversaries: NGOs and the State in Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brinks, Daniel M., Levitsky, Steven, and Murillo, Maria Victoria. 2019. Understanding Institutional Weakness: Politics and Design in Latin American Institutions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bueno, Natalia. 2018. “Bypassing the Enemy: Distributive Politics, Credit Claiming, and Non-State Welfare Provision.” Comparative Political Studies 51 (3): 304–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cammett, Melanie, and Maclean, Lauren. 2014. The Politics of Non-State Social Welfare Provision in the Global South. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Casas-Zamora, Kevin, and Carter, Miguel. 2017. “Beyond the Scandals: The Changing Context of Corruption in Latin America.” Inter-American Dialogue Rule of Law Report. https://www.thedialogue.org/analysis/beyond-the-scandals-the-changing-context-of-corruption-in-latin-america/.Google Scholar
Cavalcante, Pedro, and Carvalho, Paulo. 2017. “The Professionalization of Brazilian Federal Bureaucracy (1995-2014).” Brazilian Journal of Public Administration 51 (1): 126.Google Scholar
Centeno, Miguel, Kohli, Atul, Yashar, Deborah J., and Mistree, Dinsha. 2017. States in the Developing World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dargent, Eduardo, Feldmann, Andreas, and Luna, Juan Pablo. 2017. “Greater State Capacity, Lesser Stateness: Lessons from the Peruvian Commodity Boom.” Politics and Society 45 (1): 334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
de Morais, Michelle G. 2003. “Provisão e Construção de Capacidade Institucional no Relacionamento entre a UNESCO e o Governo Brasileiro.” Bacharelado nas Relações Internacionais, Departamento de Relações Internacionais, Universidade de Brasilia.Google Scholar
Doner, Richard, and Schneider, Ben Ross. 2017. “The Middle-Income Trap: More Politics Than Economics.” American Political Science Review 68 (4): 608–44.Google Scholar
Escola Nacional de Administração Pública (ENAP). 2018. Capacidades estatais para produção de políticas públicas: resultados do survey sobre o serviço civil no Brasil. Cadernos ENAP 56. Brasília: ENAP. http://repositorio.enap.gov.br/handle/1/3233.Google Scholar
Evans, Peter B. 1995. Embedded Autonomy: States and Industrial Transformation. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Evans, Peter, and Rausch, James E.. 1999. “Bureaucracy and Growth: A Cross-National Analysis of the Effects of “Weberian” State Structures on Economic Growth.” American Sociological Association 64 (5): 748–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ferrali, Romain, and Kim, Galileu. 2020. “The Impact of Anti-Corruption Audits on Bureaucratic Careers: Evidence from Brazilian Municipalities.” Social Science Research Network Working Paper 3499117. https://ssrn.com/abstract=3499117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Flynn, Matthew. 2015. Pharmaceutical Autonomy and Public Health in Latin America: State , Society, and Industry in Brazil’s AIDS Program. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Fox, Jonathan. 2022. “Accountability Key Words.” Accountability Working Paper.Google Scholar
Gaetani, Francisco, and Heredia, Blanca. 2002. “The Political Economy of Civil Service Reform in Brazil: The Cardoso Years.” Paper prepared for the Red de Gastión y Transparencia del Diálogo Regional de Política del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo. Inter-American Development Bank. https://publications.iadb.org/publications/english/document/The-Political-Economy-of-Civil-Service-Reform-In-Brazil-The-Cardoso-Years.pdf.Google Scholar
Galvão, Jane. 2000. AIDS no Brasil: a agenda de construção de uma epidemia. São Paulo, SP, Brasil: Editora 34.Google Scholar
Geddes, Barbara. 1990. “Building “State” Autonomy in Brazil: 1930-1964.” Comparative Politics 22 (2): 217–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
George, Alexander L., and Bennett, Andrew. 2005. Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
Gerardino, Maria Paula, Stephan Litschig, and Dina Pomeranz. 2017. “Distortion by Audit: Evidence from Public Procurement.” National Bureau of Economic Research. Working paper.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
González Ocantos, Ezequiel. 2020. “Designing Qualitative Research Projects: Notes on Theory Building, Case Selection and Field Research.” In SAGE Handbook of Research Methods in Political Science and International Relations, eds. Curini, L. and Franzese, R. Jr, 104-20. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
Graham, Lawrence S. 1968. Civil Service Reform in Brazil. Austin: University of Texas Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hochstetler, Kathryn, and Keck, Margaret E.. 2007. Greening Brazil: Environmental Activism in State and Society. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
Holland, Alisha, and Schneider, Ben Ross. 2017. “Easy and Hard Redistribution: The Political Economy of Welfare States in Latin America.” Perspective on Politics 15 (4): 9881006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hunter, Wendy, and Sugiyama, Natasha Borges. 2014. “Transforming Subjects into Citizens: Insights from Brazil’s Bolsa Família.” Perspectives on Politics 12 (4): 808–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Johnston, Michael. 2005. Syndromes of Corruption: Wealth, Power, and Democracy. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Johnston, Michael, and Fritzen, Scott A.. 2021. The Conundrum of Corruption: Reform for Social Justice. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Lieberman, Evan S. 2009. Boundaries of Contagion. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lopez, Felix, and Praça, Sergio. 2018. “Cargos de Confiança e Políticas Públicas no Executivo Federal.” In Burocracia e Políticas Públicas no Brasil: Interseções Analíticas, eds. Pires, Roberto, Lotta, Gabriela and de Oliveira, Vanessa Elias, 141–60. Brasília: Ipea, Enap.Google Scholar
Loureiro, Maria Rita, Fernando Luiz Abrucio, Cecília Olivieri, and Marco Antonio Carvalho Teixeira. 2012. “Do Controle Interno ao Controle Social: A Múltipla Atuação da CGU na Democracia Brasileira.” Cadernos Gestão Pública e Cidadania 17 (60): 5467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mayka, Lindsay. 2019. Building Participatory Institutions in Latin America: Reform Coalitions and Institutional Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mainwaring, Scott, and Welna, Christopher. 2003. Democratic Accountability in Latin America. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McDonnell, Erin Metz. 2020. Patchwork Leviathan: Pockets of Bureaucratic Effectiveness in Developing States. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Meier, Kenneth J., Mallory Compton, John Polga-Hecimovic, Miyeon Song, and Cameron Wimpy. 2019. “Bureaucracy and the Failure of Politics: Challenges to Democratic Governance.” Administration and Society 51 (10): 15761605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Motta, Alexandre Ribeiro. 2010. “Public Procurement in Brazil Federal Government: A Perspective from the Agents Responsible for its Regulation and Operation.” Paper presented at the International Public Procurement Conference, Seoul, South Korea.Google Scholar
Mungiu-Pippidi, Alina. 2006. “Corruption: Diagnosis and Treatment.” Journal of Democracy 17 (3): 8699.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mungiu-Pippidi, Alina. 2015. The Quest for Good Governance: How Societies Develop Control of Corruption. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nelson-Nuñez, Jami. 2019. “Substitution or Facilitation: Service-Delivery NGOs and Political Engagement in the Peruvian Amazon.” Comparative Political Studies 52 (3): 445–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Niedzwiecki, Sara. 2018. Uneven Social Policies: The Politics of Subnational Variation in Latin America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
North, Douglass. 1990. Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nunberg, Barbara, and Pacheco, Regina Silvia. 2016. “Public Management Incongruity in 21st Century Brazil.” In New Order and Progress: Development and Democracy in Brazil, ed. Schneider, Ben Ross, 134–61. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nunes, Edson de Oliveira. 1997. A gramática política do Brasil: Clientelismo e insulamento burocrático: Brazil: Escola Nacional de Administração Pública.Google Scholar
Nunn, Amy. 2009. The Politics and History of AIDS Treatment in Brazil. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
O’Donnell, Guillermo. 1999. “Horizontal Accountability in New Q29 Democracies.” In The Self-Restraining State: Power and Accountability in New Democracies, eds. Andreas Schedler, Larry Diamond, and Marc F. Plattner, 112–26. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Parker, Richard. 2003. “Building the Foundations for the Response to HIV/AIDS in Brazil: The Development of HIV/AIDS Policy, 1982-1996.” Divulgação em Saúde para Debate 27 (August): 143–83.Google Scholar
Pereira, Anthony W. 2016. “Is the Brazilian State “Patrimonial?Latin American Perspectives 43 (2): 135–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pires, Roberto, Gabriela Lotta, and Vanessa Elias de Oliveira, eds. 2018. Burocracia e Políticas Públicas no Brasil: Interseções Analíticas. Brasília: ENAP.Google Scholar
Polga-Hecimovich, John, and Trelles, Alejandro. 2016. “The Organizational Consequences of Politics: A Research Agenda for the Study of Bureaucratic Politics in Latin America.” Latin American Politics and Society 58 (4): 5679.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Post, Alison E., Bronsoler, Vivian, and Salman, Lana. 2017. “Hybrid Regimes for Local Public Goods Provision: A Framework for Analysis.” Perspectives on Politics 15 (4): 952–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Power, Timothy J., and Taylor, Matthew M.. 2011. Corruption and Democracy in Brazil. South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
Prado, Mariana Mota, and Trebilcock, Michael J.. 2018. Institutional Bypasses: A Strategy to Promote Reforms for Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Praça, Sérgio, and Taylor, Matthew M.. 2014. “Inching Toward Accountability: The Evolution of Brazil’s Anticorruption Institutions, 1985-2010.” Latin American Politics and Society 56 (2): 2748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rich, Jessica A.J. 2019. State-Sponsored Activism: Bureaucrats and Social Movements in Democratic Brazil. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rocco, Philip. 2013. “Legitimating and Constraining Government.” Public Administration Review 73 (5): 765–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rothstein, Bo, and Teorell, Jan. 2012. “Defining and Measuring Quality of Government.” In Good Government: The Relevance of Political Science, eds. Holmberg, Sören and Rothstein, Bo, 1339. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
Santiso, Carlos. 2006. “Improving Fiscal Governance and Curbing Corruption: How Relevant Are Autonomous Audit Agencies?International Public Management Review 7 (2): 97108.Google Scholar
Schedler, Andreas, Larry Diamond, and Marc F. Plattner, eds. 1999. The Self-Restraining State: Power and Accountability in New Democracies. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Soares, Fábio Veras, Rafael Perez Ribas, and Rafael Guerreiro Osório. 2010. “Evaluating the Impact of Brazil’s Bolsa Família: Cash Transfer Programs in Comparative Perspective.” Latin American Research Review 45 (2): 173190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Soifer, Hillel. 2008. “Unpacking the Strength of the State: The Utility of State Infrastructural Power.” Studies in Comparative International Development 43 (34). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12116-008-9030-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Souza, Celina. 2017. “State Modernization and the Building of Bureaucratic Capacity for the Implementation of Federalized Policies.” Revista de Administração Pública 51 (1): 2745.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Speck, Bruno W. 2011. “Auditing Institutions.” In Corruption and Democracy in Brazil, eds. Power, Timothy J. and Taylor, Matthew M., 127161. South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
Stern, Elliot, and Defourny, Vincent. 2001. UNESCO Brazil Evaluation Report on the Activities of the Brasilia Office. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
Sugiyama, Natasha Borges. 2013. Diffusion of Good Government: Social Sector Reforms in Brazil. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
Taylor, Matthew M., and Buranello, Vinicius C.. 2007. “Ending Up in Pizza: Accountability as a Problem of Institutional Arrangement in Brazil.” Latin American Politics and Society 49 (1): 5987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tendler, Judith. 2007. “The Rule of Law, Economic Development, and Modernization of the State in Brazil: Lessons from Existing Experience for Policy and Practice.” Research Proposal for World Bank and UK Department for International Development.Google Scholar
Toral, Guillermo. 2019. “Political Bureaucratic Cycles: How Politicians Responses to Electoral Incentives and Anti-Corruption Policies Disrupt the Bureaucracy and Service Delivery around Elections.” Social Science Research Network Working Paper 3462001. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3462001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Transparency International. 2012. “National Integrity System Assessment Toolkit.” https://www.transparency.org/en/national-integrity-system-assessments.Google Scholar
Touchton, Michael, Sugiyama, Natasha, and Wampler, Brian. 2017. “Democracy at Work: Moving Beyond Elections to Improve Well-Being.” American Political Science Review 111 (1): 6882.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
United Nations Development Program (UNDP). 2011. “Assessment of Development Results: Brazil.” Evaluations Report.Google Scholar
Wang, Erik. 2022. “Frightened Mandarins: The Adverse Effects of Fighting Corruption on Local Bureaucracy.” Comparative Political Studies. 55(11): 1807–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weber, Max. 1968. Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology, 3 vols. New York: Bedminster Press.Google Scholar
World Bank. 2004a. “Brazil: Country Procurement Assessment Report.” Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
World Bank. 2004b. “Brazil First and Second AIDS and STD Control Projects: Project Performance Assessment Report.” Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
Zimmerman, Anne Mariel. 2013. “State as Chimera: Aid, Parallel Institutions, and State Power.” Comparative Politics 45 (3): 335–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zuvanic, Laura, and Iacoviello, Mercedes. 2010. “La burocracia en América Latina.” Revista Centroamericana de Administración Pública 58–59: 941.Google Scholar
Supplementary material: PDF

Rich supplementary material

Rich supplementary material

Download Rich supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 212.5 KB