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Eggert Novi Travnik

Authoritarian Temptation

October 2004

In 2002, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) asked ESI to undertake a large research project on governance and obstacles to reform in Bosnia-Herzegovina. A team of ESI researchers, led by Marcus Cox, produced a series of case studies on public policy.

In 2004, a final report The Authoritarian Temptation concluded that:

"the dominant feature of government in Bosnia is its passivity in the face of this social and economic crisis. In the most critical development areas industrial policy, agriculture, infrastructure development, natural-resource management, education and training, social welfare we have found a vacuum of credible policies."

The report found that the legacy of socialist self-management persisted across all levels of government, with many semi-private institutions using public resources without control by elected authorities. This lack of accountability was reinforced by a popular "cult of the expert" (strucnjak), which allowed Bosnian governments to operate without accountability to the public. In post-war Bosnia, it was the public administration that was the true privileged class.

"As industry collapsed, public administration became the main source of employment for the urban population. Almost all the employment growth in recent years has been in the administration. Public servants were able to protect themselves from the decline in living standards affecting the rest of the population by demanding relatively good salaries and benefits."
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