Role of Public Administration in Economic Development – Essay

Dube mentions three sectors, private and public sectors and there is often also a third sector, a people’s sector especially in the rural areas where partnership projects like community development are run jointly by the people and the government.

In fact public administration regulates all these sectors because governments in these societies always played an important role in the production and distribution of goods and services. The role of public administration in economic development can be generally discussed within two contexts, (a) the ideology of nationalism and (b) the process of planning. Where the economic base is not stable, dysfunctional structural consequences are but natural.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

F. W. Riggs said, “Where the economy has not reached a sufficiently high level, a quasi salary mode of organizing the bureaucracy brings about the mining of resources and the spread of a parasitical class of sincerities who reduce productivity and hence diminish the range of free choice for their society, thereby contributing to economic regression and political breakdown”.

Economic programmes depend to a large extent upon the adoption by government of appropriate administrative and legislative actions both in the public and the private sectors.

It is also pointed out that the mixture of economic development and national development has achieved neither economic growth nor political development. The inadequacy of the administrative set up to rise to the occasion cannot be easily ignored. The general pattern of inadequacy lies according to Hagen in the following practices:

(a) Bureaucracies are vary of granting any permission within regulatory discretion to a private enterprise underlying this practice is a pervasive reluctance to exercise discretion.

(b) Budget practices inherited from colonial days, often persist in the developing world.

(c) Even more serious is frequent failure to construct any mechanism for coordinated evaluation of government expenditures.

(d) A practice often harmful to growth is action to protect employment rather than foster growth.

In the Indian context, Dube has observed, “The major symptoms of the malady are failure to take decision at the appropriate level, passing the buck, roping in other decision-making equivocal recommendation anticipating what the boss wants, rationalization of failures underplaying the essentials and magnifying the grandiose covering the failure of smaller Utopias and outright sycophancy”.

In the sphere of planning, Hamson, Galbraith and Hirchman have all called on development planners to consider the role of bureaucracy. A plan in order to be realistically implemented the agency which makes the plan must meet three tests (a) it must have the support of the head of the government’ (b) it must allow the leading decision makers, in the economy to participate in drawing up the plan; and (c) it must control crucial decisions at the stage of implementation, W. Arthur Lewis wants bureaucracy to play a leading role in developing a plan which, according to him, includes most of the following:

1. A survey of current economic conditions, especially national income, productivity, foreign trade and trends in each major industry.

2. A survey of the current social situation, especially population changes, education, health, housing and social security.

3. An evaluation of progress achieved under the preceding plan.

4. A statement of general objectives of economic and social policy.

5. Estimates of growth of targets, for each major economic area of the plan.

6. Suggested measures designed to raise the rate of economic growth, especially measures to stimulate saving and investment and to increase productivity and measure to improve the institutional framework of economic activity, such as land reform of reorganization or the markets for commodities, labour or capital.

7. A programme of government expenditures, capital and recurrent.

Unfortunately, because of various factors there have been more failures than successes in the implementation of development plans and administrators must accept its share of the blame. Joseph J. Spengler outlines three fairly distinct roles for administration in the field of economic development.

(1) It can help to establish and strengthen the minimum legal and public service preconditions to economic development, namely, law and order and security in general infra-structural demands money and banking institution and legal and administrative structure favourable to the conduct of economic activities by both domestic and foreign enterprise.

Bureaucracy is both, an element in and a fomenter of elementary pre-conditions as well as a force serving to direct some of the existing achievement motivation into channels favourable to economic growth.

(2) The bureaucracy can, by fixing on certain general or specific output objectives, play an important, if not a major, role in modifying the resource structure of a country, together with the exploitation-, as to make it more favourable to economic growth.

(3) If private enterprise shows insufficient initiative in exploiting a country’s labour force and resource, equipment in ways deemed essential to its-economic development, the bureaucracy may establish public corporations, or mixed public-private corporations or alternative organizational firms to supply the necessary initiative.