Exclusive: Israel’s cronyism drags on economy, study suggests

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May 22, 2016 19:07
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Israel’s public sees a high degree of cronyism and corruption in the public sector, just one of several measures of ineffective public sector performance that could be linked to lackluster economic growth, according to a new Israel Democracy Institute study .

The survey, the first IDI survey to examine economic perceptions, found that the public holds largely negative views on the country’s civil service. The participants gave rankings of very poor to average on questions of the civil services overall (85.1%), with similar views on its efficiency (88.5%), transparency (88;.5%) and professionalism (79.1%).

Strikingly, just 9.2% of respondents rated the civil service above average when asked about the degree of cronyism and favoritism, indicating a perception that people need personal ties, not good skills, to advance in government bureaus. Some 11.9% ranked above average the government’s ability to attract the best talent.

The survey, which was prepared ahead of this week’s Eli Hurvitz Conference on Economy & Society, was conducted between March 29 and April 3 among 600 interviewees over the age of 18 in Hebrew, Arabic and Russian. It was weighted to produce a nationally representative sample, and had a maximum sampling error of plus or minus 4.1%.

Those results may have implications beyond simple frustration with bureaucracy.

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