Does democratization lead to more meritocracy in the civil service? I argue 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. I test 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.
About the IS4 Series
Sponsored by the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre (SSEAC), the Cornell Southeast Asia Program (SEAP) and the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), this virtual seminar series brings together social science experts from across the globe to discuss pressing issues facing Indonesia. In addition to providing in-depth scholarly analysis of social issues in Indonesia, this series will foster new opportunities for networking between those working in Indonesia and around the world.