"Throughout the developing world, administrative reforms, such as the introduction of electronic public service delivery systems, have been hailed as necessary to improve democratic accountability and responsiveness. By increasing access to public services and reducing politicians' control over this access, such progressive policies promise to improve the lot for poor citizens in countries like India, Brazil, and South Africa. Yet politicians' incentives are different. Jennifer Bussell shows that when such policies threaten politicians' ability to garner 'rents' from petty corruption, they block reform. Fascinatingly, however, some of these reforms are implemented in other states by equally corrupt politicians who are less dependent on petty theft and specialize in 'grand' corruption. This compelling - if disturbing - analysis of the difficulties facing grassroots reform in the Third World uses case studies, field experiments, interviews, and statistical data to make its case. It is academic detective work at its very best." - Irfan Nooruddin, The Ohio State University
"Corruption and Reform in India is an insightful and politically sensitive work that demonstrates how corruption operates in practice and when political actors support reform. Bussell's work will push reformers to take the political environment seriously and to recognize the deep difference between petty and grand corruption. The book will be of interest to scholars of comparative politics, public administration, and corruption as well as to experts on India." - Susan Rose-Ackerman, Yale University
"Jennifer Bussell has written a fascinating study on an important topic: technology-enabled public service reform across Indian states. This study will be pathbreaking and resonant for its linkages between political incentives, the nature of corruption, and possibilities of reform within India and beyond. It offers a nuanced portrayal of India in which digital reform and innovative techniques for public service delivery coexist with newer kinds of rent seeking, rather than one to the exclusion of the other. Her research design is unique in analyzing a large set of states across India and will be an important methodological contribution to the literature." - Aseema Sinha, Claremont McKenna College
This book investigates why some governments improve public services more effectively than others, highlighting the case of administrative reforms using digital technology. Drawing on extensive analysis of Indian states, Jennifer Bussell shows that politicians' access to income from corruption explains variation in the timing, management, and comprehensiveness of reforms.