The effect of public service motivation and job level on bureaucrats' preferences for direct policy instruments

Miyeon Song, Illoong Kwon, Seyeong Cha, Naon Min

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite growing reliance on indirect market-based policy instruments under the New Public Management reforms, bureaucrats often prefer direct regulatory instruments. Thus, for successful implementation of indirect policy instruments, it is important to understand the underlying motives for bureaucrats' preferences. This article shows that based on unique survey data from Korea, bureaucrats with higher public service motivation have a stronger preference for direct policy instruments. This pattern is strong for bureaucrats at lower job levels and for those who report greater willingness for self-sacrifice, but not necessarily for those who show strong commitment for the public interest. These results contradict a view that bureaucrats prefer direct policy instruments out of self-interest to maintain private benefits. Rather, direct policy instruments may require more work and even more unpleasant direct interactions with the clientele being served, but allow the bureaucrats to stay in control of and feel more responsible for the services provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-51
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing

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