How many bureaucrats does it take to…

UK government expenditures in 2008: $1.2 trillion
Approximate number of staff in the UK Treasury: 1,000

Liberian government expenditures in 2008: $183 million
Approximate number of staff in the Liberian Ministry of Finance: 1,000

Something tells me that the answer to this puzzle is not that the UK Treasury should hire 6,556,377 new staff. Presumably there are economies of scale. The Liberian Ministry, on the other hand…

7 thoughts on “How many bureaucrats does it take to…

  1. 1,000 people in the MoF in Liberia? Good lord – I used to work in the MoF in Malawi, which has nearly 4x the population, but likely a quarter the number of staff.

    Are the two institutions comparable? The Treasury in Malawi was classified as just part of the Ministry of Finance, which also included the Accountant General, Auditor General and a couple other small units.

  2. Indeed. When I worked in the Ministry of Finance in Sierra Leone a couple of years back, there were definitly no more than 200 people (not counting various messengers, guards etc who are paid very little).

  3. And how much technical assistance does it take to…

    Liberian government expenditures in 2008: $183 million
    Approximate number of CGD Fellows in the Liberian Ministry of Finance: 6

    Southern Sudanese government expenditures in 2008: ~ $2.75 billion
    Approximate number of CGD Fellows in the Southern Sudanese Ministry of Finance: 0

  4. But (as Lee should know as he’s one of them) there are 4 ODI Fellows in the Ministry of Finance in Southern Sudan. Surely that counts for something? :)

  5. Well, all they need is a good petroleum windfall in their part of the Gulf of Guinea and they’ll be right up there with you.

  6. Slightly faulty comparison–the Liberian system is fashioned after that in the US not the UK, and US Treasury has roughly 100,000 employees. And the US population is roughly 100 times Liberia’s…

    That said, the US Treasury has a few more responsibilities than Liberia’s Ministry of Finance.

  7. I've been looking for a way to take economic action and contact our legislators and sign petitions and found some good policy the U.S. Chamber of Commerce backs (here).

    I don't have a lot of money or time, but I figure this will help other people do good.