This book asks why some governments improve public services more effectively than others. Through the investigation of a new era of administrative reform, in which digital technologies may be used to facilitate citizens' access to the state, Jennifer Bussell's analysis provides unanticipated insights into this fundamental question. In contrast to factors such as economic development or electoral competition, this study highlights the importance of access to rents, which can dramatically shape the opportunities and threats of reform to political elites. Drawing on a sub-national analysis of twenty Indian states, a field experiment, statistical modeling, case studies, interviews of citizens, bureaucrats and politicians, and comparative data from South Africa and Brazil, Bussell shows 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 reforms.

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