Friday, August 6

Cronyism and erosion of public trust

John Garen via Mercatus Center: “Large governments with broad powers engender competition for influence over those powers. This leads to cronyism, where certain groups obtain special privileges in exchange for political support. The academic literature indicates that, in addition to other negative effects, cronyism can cause public mistrust in government that limits the effectiveness of core government functions such as maintaining property rights and other individual rights. Survey data show a large decline in trust in government, much of which has occurred while government grew rapidly. Evidence indicates that government growth has been associated with rent-seeking and cronyism, leading to a withdrawal of trust. Thus, cronyism — bad government — can undermine even the appropriate functions of government. The literature also suggests that trust can be restored by the practice of good government. It seems that the best way to do so is with a smaller, more focused government that is centered on carrying out its core functions and to steer clear of cronyism.”

The complete essay is at GOVERNMENT CRONYISM AND THE EROSION OF THE PUBLIC’S TRUST: An Exploratory and Cautionary Essay.