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Making Bureaucracy Work: Norms, Education, and Public Service Delivery in Rural

Making Bureaucracy Work: Norms, Education, and Public Service Delivery in Rural

What makes bureaucracy work for the least advantaged? Across the world, countries have adopted policies for universal primary education. Yet, policy implementation is uneven and not well understood. Making Bureaucracy Work investigates when and how public agencies deliver primary education in rural India.

Through multi-level comparative analysis and extensive ethnographic research, Mangla opens the “black box” of Indian bureaucracy to show how differences in bureaucratic norms – informal rules that guide officials and their everyday relations with citizens – generate divergent implementation and outcomes. Some public agencies promote compliance with policy; others engage in deliberation and encourage flexible problem-solving with local communities, enhancing the quality of education services.

This book reveals the complex ways in which bureaucratic norms interact with socio-economic inequalities, illuminating the possibilities and obstacles for bureaucracy to promote inclusive development.

  • Author

    Akshay Mangla is Associate Professor of International Business at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford.
    He specialises in comparative politics, political economy of development, public institutions, education, social welfare and
    South Asia.

  • From the Reviews

    “This meticulously researched book addresses one of the deepest puzzles about Indian development, the early neglect of basic education, and its later (partial) correction. Using a variety of empirical methods and sources, the book highlights the role of bureaucratic norms in policy implementation and outcomes and provides a novel and richly textured understanding of state capacity” – Devesh Kapur, Johns Hopkins University

    “For all that has been written about the Indian state, we have never really understood how the bureaucracy works. Until now. Mangla’s book not only unpacks the Indian state, but through his empirically rich and rigorously crafted comparative analysis of the education bureaucracy in subnational states he shows us how and why bureaucracies can utterly fail and when they become agents of inclusive development”
    – Patrick Heller, Brown University

  • Details


    440 pages

    For sale in South Asia only

    In the Hedgehog and Fox series, copublished with Ashoka University

    You can buy this book from our distributors Orient Blackswan or from good bookstores, or from online portals.

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