Corruption and Reform in India: Public Services in the Digital Age
Bussell, Jennifer. Corruption and Reform in India: Public Services in the Digital Age. New York: Cambridge UP, 2012.
Why are some governments better able to reform public services than others? Through investigation of a new era of administrative reform, in which digital technologies may be used to facilitate citizens’ access to the state, this analysis provides unanticipated insights into this fundamental question. In contrast to factors such as economic development or electoral competition, I highlight the importance of access to rents, which can dramatically shape the opportunities and threats of reform to political elites. Drawing on sub-national analysis of twenty Indian states, a field experiment, statistical modeling, interviews of citizens, bureaucrats, and politicians, and comparative data from South Africa and Brazil, I show that the extent to which politicians rely on income from petty and grand corruption is closely linked to variation in the timing, management, and comprehensiveness of technology-enabled reforms. The book also illuminates the importance of political constituencies and coalition politics in shaping policy outcomes.