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To the Victor Belongs the Spoils? Party Membership and Public Sector Employment in Brazil


  • Brollo, Fernanda

    (University of Warwick, CAGE and CEPR)

  • Forquesato, Pedro


  • Gozzi, Juan Carlos

    (University of Warwick)


We analyze how political discretion affects the selection of government workers, using individual-level data on political party membership and matched employer-employee data on the universe of formal workers in Brazil. Exploiting close mayoral races, we find that winning an election leads to an increase of over 40% in the number of members of the winning party working in the municipal bureaucracy. Employment of members of the ruling party increases relatively more in senior positions, but also expands in lower-ranked jobs, suggesting that discretionary appointments are used both to influence policymaking and to reward supporters. We find that party members hired after their party is elected tend be of similar or even higher quality than members of the runner-up party, contrary to common perceptions that political appointees are less qualified. Moreover, the increased public employment of members of the ruling party is long-lasting, extending beyond the end of the mayoral term.

Suggested Citation

  • Brollo, Fernanda & Forquesato, Pedro & Gozzi, Juan Carlos, 2017. "To the Victor Belongs the Spoils? Party Membership and Public Sector Employment in Brazil," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 353, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cge:wacage:353

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bosch, Mariano & Goni, Edwin & Maloney, William, 2007. "The determinants of rising informality in Brazil : Evidence from gross worker flows," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4375, The World Bank.
    2. Ashraf, Nava & Bandiera, Oriana & Jack, B. Kelsey, 2014. "No margin, no mission? A field experiment on incentives for public service delivery," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 1-17.
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    2. Brassiolo, Pablo & Estrada, Ricardo & Fajardo, Gustavo, 2020. "My (running) mate, the mayor: Political ties and access to public sector jobs in Ecuador," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 191(C).
    3. Maximiliano Lauletta & Martín Rossi & Christian Ruzzier, 2020. "Audits and the Quality of Government," Working Papers 141, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Jun 2020.
    4. Voth, Hans-Joachim & Xu, Guo, 2019. "Patronage for Productivity: Selection and Performance in the Age of Sail," CEPR Discussion Papers 13963, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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    More about this item


    bureaucracy; patronage; political parties; public sector employment JEL Classification: D72; D73; H70; J45;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets

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