New Paper on the Indian Bureaucracy

Saksham Khosla and I have a new paper that reviews a fascinating, nascent empirical literature on the functioning and performance of India’s elite civil service cadre, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS).

Seemingly everyone has an opinion on what ails the IAS and what reforms ought to be pursued. But for the first time, we have actual hard data that can help inform both what is broken and, in turn, what fixes might be applied.

Our paper, and the literature we review, tries to answer three questions:

What determines the career success of officers in the IAS? To what degree can individual officers influence tangible development outcomes in areas such as poverty, health, and education? And what impact does politics have on bureaucratic functioning?

The full paper can be found here. But for those who would like an easy, one-page summary of the key take-aways, have a look at this policy brief.