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The Inequality Machine: An exploration of the costs and causes of bureaucratic dysfunction in Mexico


Access to rights depends on the institutional capacity to deliver and citizens’ capacity to benefit from public services and programmes. This is where bureaucracy and inequality meet: many times, even if access procedures are designed for equality, they do not produce equal results. Bureaucratic pathologies, deficits, and administrative burdens imply that different citizens might not share the same experience while interacting with government agencies. Moreover, in some developing countries like Mexico, inequality in access leads to the creation and reinforcement of "low-trust” bureaucracies. This paper offers some general ideas on this problem and stresses the relevance of understanding bureaucratic dysfunction from the citizens' point of view particularly in weak institutional contexts.


bureaucracy, administrative burden, inequality, trust, development