The best-known proponent of a new-model, meritocratic civil service was Max Weber, a German sociologist who died in 1920. He envisioned a closed, rigid hierarchy staffed by bureaucrats who entered by examination and enjoyed protected careers. This, he argued, would foster esprit de corps and curb cronyism.There is a fair bit of evidence in favour of the meritocracy Weber championed. Research published in 2011 by Victor Lapuente and Carl Dahlstrom of the University of Gothenburg, and Jan Teorell, of Lund University, looked at which features of a civil service cut jobbery. They found that corruption across 52 countries was correlated with neither civil-service pay levels nor whether jobs were for life. Merit-based hiring was the only aspect of bureaucracies that consistently reduced graft. The connection held in countries at different stages of development, and with different political systems.
Source: Mandarin lessons | The Economist