The Relation between Public Managers’ Compensation and Governance

Mario Coccia, Igor Benati


A vast literature in the field of public organizations has analyzed several factors of the compensation of government senior managers. However, the institutional factors associated with high levels of compensation of public managers are hardly known. In particular, studies about the possible relation between factors of governance and compensation of public managers are scarce. The statistical evidence here reveals that in the OECD countries, high levels of compensation for central government senior manager (standardized with GDP per capita) seem to be associated with low government effectiveness, low regulatory quality, low freedom, low rule of law and control of corruption (in short, bad governance). These results suggest insights for general reforms of governance aimed to support equitably levels of compensation of public managers and efficiency of public institutions.

Full Text:



Acemoglu, D. (2008). Interactions between Governance and Growth. In Governance, growth, and development decision-making. Washington, DC: World Bank.

Andrews, M. (2010). Good Government Means Different Things in Different Countries. Governance, 23(1), 7–35.

Barzelay, M. (2001). The new public management: improving research and policy dialogue. Berkeley : New York: University of California Press : Russell Sage Foundation.

Benati, I., & Coccia, M. (2017). General Trends and Causes of High Compensation of Government Managers in the OECD Countries. International Journal of Public Administration, 1–14.

Benati I., & Coccia M. (2018). Rewards in Bureaucracy and Politics. Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance –section Bureaucracy (edited by Ali Farazmand). Springer International Publishing AG. Chapter No.: 3417-1,

Bozeman, B. (2007). Public values and public interest: counterbalancing economic individualism. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

Brans, M., & Peters, B. G. (A c. di). (2012). Rewards for high public office in Europe and North America. New York: Routledge.

Butkiewicz, J. L., & Yanikkaya, H. (2011). Institutions and the Impact of Government Spending on Growth. Journal of Applied Economics, 14(2), 319–341.

Capano, G. (2003). Administrative Traditions and Policy Change: When Policy Paradigms Matter. The Case of Italian Administrative Reform During the 1990s. Public Administration, 81(4), 781–801.

Cassandro, P. E. (1979). Le aziende erogatrici pubbliche, Torino, Italy: UTET.

Chen, C. A., & Bozeman, B. (2014). Am I a Public Servant or Am I a Pathogen? Public Managers’ Sector Comparison of Worker Abilities: Public Managers’ Sector Comparison Of Worker Abilities. Public Administration, n/a-n/a.

Coccia, M. (2001). Satisfaction, work involvement and R&D performance. International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 1(2/3/4), 268.

Coccia, M. (2005). Countrymetrics: valutazione della performance economica e tecnologica dei paesi e posizionamento dell’Italia. Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Sociali, 113(3), 377-412.

Coccia, M. (2007). A new taxonomy of country performance and risk based on economic and technological indicators. Journal of Applied Economics, 10(1), 29-42. Available at SSRN:

Coccia, M. (2009). Bureaucratization in Public Research Institutions. Minerva, 47(1), 31–50.

Coccia, M. (2009a). Research performance and bureaucracy within public research labs. Scientometrics, 79(1), 93–107.

Coccia, M. (2009b). A New Approach for Measuring and Analysing Patterns of Regional Economic Growth: Empirical Analysis in Italy. Italian Journal of Regional Science- Scienze Regionali, 8(2), 71-95.

Coccia, M. (2010). Public and private R&D investments as complementary inputs for productivity growth. International Journal of Technology, Policy and Management, 10(1/2), 73.

Coccia, M. (2010a). Democratization is the driving force for technological and economic change. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 77(2), 248–264.

Coccia, M. (2013). What are the likely interactions among innovation, government debt, and employment? Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research, 26(4), 456–471.

Coccia, M. (2014). Structure and organisational behaviour of public research institutions under unstable growth of human resources. International Journal of Services Technology and Management, 20(4/5/6), 251.

Coccia, M. (2016). Radical innovations as drivers of breakthroughs: characteristics and properties of the management of technology leading to superior organisational performance in the discovery process of R&D labs. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 28(4), 381–395.

Coccia, M. (2017). Asymmetric paths of public debts and of general government deficits across countries within and outside the European monetary unification and economic policy of debt dissolution. The Journal of Economic Asymmetries, 15, 17–31.

Coccia, M. (2017a). Optimization in R&D intensity and tax on corporate profits for supporting labor productivity of nations. The Journal of Technology Transfer.

Coccia, M., & Benati, I. (2017). What is the relation between public manager compensation and government effectiveness? An explorative analysis with public management implications. Quaderni Ircres-CNR, 2(2),1-36,

Coccia M., & Benati, I. (2018). Comparative Studies. Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance –section Bureaucracy (edited by Ali Farazmand), Springer International Publishing AG, Cham. Chapter No. 1197-1, pp. 1-7,

Coccia, M., & Cadario, E. (2014). Organisational (un)learning of public research labs in turbulent context. International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 15(2), 115.

Coccia, M., & Rolfo, S. (2007). How research policy changes can affect the organization and productivity of public research institutes: An analysis within the Italian national system of innovation. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 9(3), 215–233.

Coccia, M., & Rolfo, S. (2009). Project management in public research organisations: strategic change in complex scenarios. International Journal of Project Organisation and Management, 1(3), 235.

Coccia, M., & Rolfo, S. (2010). New entrepreneurial behaviour of public research organisations: opportunities and threats of technological services supply. International Journal of Services Technology and Management, 13(1/2), 134.

Coccia, M., & Rolfo, S. (2013). Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior of Public Research Institutions. International Journal of Public Administration, 36(4), 256–268.

Denis, D. J., Denis, D. K., & Sarin, A. (1997). Ownership structure and top executive turnover. Journal of Financial Economics, 45(2), 193–221.

Dittmann, I., Maug, E., & Zhang, D. (2011). Restricting CEO pay (Vol. 17).

Friedman, M. (2008). Living wage and optimal inequality in a Sarkarian framework. Review of Social Economy, 66(1), 93–111.

Fukuyama, F. (2013). What is Governance? SSRN Electronic Journal.

Gao, H., & Li, K. (2015). A comparison of CEO pay–performance sensitivity in privately-held and public firms. Journal of Corporate Finance, 35, 370–388.

Gisselquist, R. M. (2012). Good governance as a concept, and why this matters for development policy. Helsinki: WIDER.

Gisselquist, R. M. (2014). Developing and evaluating governance indexes: 10 questions. Policy Studies, 35(5), 513–531.

Graham, J., Amos, B., Plumptre, T. (2003). Principles for good governance in the 21st century. Policy Brief 15,1–6. briefs

Hood, C. (1991). A Public Management for All Seasons? Public Administration, 69(1), 3–19.

Hood, C., & Dixon, R. (2015). A government that worked better and cost less? evaluating three decades of reform and change in UK central government (First Edition). Oxford, United Kingdom ; New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Hood, C., & Lodge, M. (2006). The Politics of Public Service Bargains. Oxford University Press.

Hood, C., & Peters, B. G. (A c. di). (1994). Rewards at the top: a comparative study of high public office. London ; Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage.

Hood, C., & Peters, B. G. (A c. di). (2003). Reward for high public office: Asian and Pacific-rim states. London: Routledge.

Hubbard, R. G. (2005). Pay without Performance: A Market Equilibrium Critique. SSRN Electronic Journal.

Jarque, A. (2008). CEO compensation: Trends market changes, and regulation”, Economic Quarterly, 94(3), 265–300.

Kaufmann, D., Kraay, A., Zoido, L. P. (1999). Governance matters. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No 2196. Washington DC: World Bank.

Kaufmann, D., Kraay, A., Mastruzzi, M. (2005). Governance Matters IV: Governance Indicators for 1996-2004. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 3630. Washington DC.

Kaufmann, D., Kraay, A., & Mastruzzi, M. (2008). Governance Matters VII: Aggregate and Individual Governance Indicators, 1996-2007. SSRN Electronic Journal.

Kaufmann, D., Kraay, A., Mastruzzi, M. (2010). The Worldwide Governance Indicators: Methodology and Analytical Issues (September 2010). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5430. Available at SSRN:

Keser, A., & Gökmen, Y. (2018). Governance and Human Development: The Impacts of Governance Indicators on Human Development. Journal of Public Administration and Governance, 8(1), 26.

Khan, M. H. (2009) Building Growth Promoting Governance, UNCTAD Background paper, n.2/2009

Kuhnen, C. M., & Niessen, A. (2012). Public Opinion and Executive Compensation. Management Science, 58(7), 1249–1272.

Malul, M., & Shoham, A. (2013). The salaries of CEOs: Is it all about skills? Journal of Economics and Business, 67, 67–76.

Meier, K. J., & O’Toole, L. J. (2010). Beware of Managers Not Bearing Gifts: How Management Capacity Augments the Impact of Managerial Networking. Public Administration, 88(4), 1025–1044.

Norris, P. (2008). Democracy Time Series Dataset, Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, MA.

North, D., Acemoglu, D., Fukuyama, F., & Rodrik, D., (eds) (2008). Governance, growth, and development decision-making. The World Bank, Washington, DC

OECD. (2011). Public Servants as Partners for Growth: Toward a Stronger, Leaner and More Equitable Workforce. Paris: OECD Publishing. ISBN Number: 9789264166707

OECD. (2012). Public Sector Compensation in Times of Austerity. Paris: OECD Publishing.

OECD. (2013). Government at a Glance 2013. OECD Publishing.

Ongaro, E. (2011). The Role of Politics and Institutions in The Italian Administrative Reform Trajectory. Public Administration, 89(3), 738–755.

Ongaro, E., & Valotti, G. (2008). Public management reform in Italy: explaining the implementation gap. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 21(2), 174–204.

Perry, J. L. (1996). Measuring Public Service Motivation: An Assessment of Construct Reliability and Validity. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 6(1), 5–22.

Peters, B. (2009). The Two Futures of Governing: Decentering and Recentering Processes in Governing. NISPAcee Journal of Public Administration and Policy, 2(1).

Peters, B. G., & Pierre, J. (2016). Comparative Governance: Rediscovering the Functional Dimension of Governing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rimington, J. D. (2008). The Value of the Remuneration of High Civil Servants in Britain in The 20th Century and Its Implications. Public Administration, 86(4), 1107–1127.

Rothstein, B., & Teorell, J. (2008). What Is Quality of Government? A Theory of Impartial Government Institutions. Governance, 21(2), 165–190.

Thomas, M. A. (2010). What Do the Worldwide Governance Indicators Measure? The European Journal of Development Research, 22(1), 31–54.

WGI. (2010). Worldwide Governance Indicators, Access the WGI data at

Witesman, E., & Walters, L. (2014). Public Service Values: A New Approach to the Study of Motivation in the Public Sphere: Public Service Values. Public Administration, 92(2), 375–405.

World Bank. (1992). Governance and development, Washington, DC: The World Bank

World Bank. (2008). World development indicators,

World Bank. (2017). World development report, Governance and the Law. The World Bank Group, Washington, DC: The World Bank


Copyright (c) 2018 Mario Coccia

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Journal of Public Administration and Governance  ISSN 2161-7104


Copyright © Macrothink Institute

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.