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SPP 410

Author: David J Galbreath & Richard Rose
Description: This paper introduces a conceptual distinction between fairness in bureaucratic encounters and such related concepts as administrative discretion and corruption in the delivery of public services by bureaucrats. Since real as distinct from ideal-type bureaucratic fairness is a goal rather than an achievement, alternative hypotheses about the distribution of unfairness are drawn from sociological theories attributing it to social differences or ethnic cleavages and from a Rawlsian ideal in which unfairness is randomly distributed. Data from the New Baltic Barometer survey is marshalled to measure the extent to which Latvians and Russians expect to be treated fairly in bureaucratic encounters. The third section uses multivariate statistics to test whether expectations of unfairness are biased by ethnicity and/or socio-economic characteristics or are randomly distributed. The latter is the case. The conclusion reviews implications of the findings for other types of societies, and actions that may increase the level of fairness in delivering public services.

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CSPP School of Government & Public Policy U. of Strathclyde Glasgow G1 1XQ Scotland