This study investigates the concept of bureaucratic competence. Specifically, we challenge the argument that a “careerists’ premium”—the tendency for public services run by careerists to receive better performance evaluations than services administered by other types of public managers—necessarily is explained by the superior expertise of career bureaucrats. Evidence that forms the basis of this possibility comes from performance evaluations of Korean state-owned enterprises (SOEs) managed by different types of executives between 2000 and 2015. The results of our analyses provide support for the existence of a careerists’ premium. However, we find that the premium is most salient and significant when executives had retired from the governmental agency that oversees the performance-evaluation process. Moreover, the gap between qualitative and quantitative assessment scores increase significantly when the evaluated SOEs are managed by career executives who have retired from the regulating agency. This result suggests that the oft-cited careerists’ premium may not necessarily signify careerists’ greater expertise; it may also be the product of lobbying and regulatory capture.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Economics and Econometrics