From Weber to Kafka: political instability and the overproduction of lawsTHE AMERICAN ECONOMIC REVIEW, 2021
With inefficient bureaucratic institutions, the effects of laws are hard to assess and incompetent politicians may pass laws to build a reputation as skillful reformers. Since too many laws curtail bureaucratic efficiency, this mechanism can generate a steady state with Kafkaesque bureaucracy. Temporary surges in political instability heighten the incentives to overproduce laws and can shift the economy towards the Kafkaesque state. Consistent with the theory, after a surge in political instability in the early 1990s, Italy experienced a significant increase in the amount of poor-quality legislation and a decrease in bureaucratic efficiency.