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Patronage and Selection in Public Sector Organizations

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  • Colonnelli, Emanuele
  • Prem, Mounu
  • Teso, Edoardo

Abstract

In all modern bureaucracies, politicians retain some discretion in public employment decisions, which may lead to frictions in the selection process if political connections substitute for individual competence. Relying on detailed matched employer-employee data on the universe of public employees in Brazil over 1997-2014, and on a regression discontinuity design in close electoral races, we establish three main findings. First, political connections are a key and quantitatively large determinant of employment in public organizations, for both bureaucrats and frontline providers. Second, patronage is an important mechanism behind this result. Third, political considerations lead to the selection of less competent individuals.

Suggested Citation

  • Colonnelli, Emanuele & Prem, Mounu & Teso, Edoardo, 2019. "Patronage and Selection in Public Sector Organizations," CEPR Discussion Papers 13697, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13697
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mitra Akhtari & Diana Moreira & Laura Trucco, 2016. "Political Turnover, Bureaucratic Turnover, and the Quality of Public Services," Working Paper 468671, Harvard University OpenScholar.
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    Cited by:

    1. Guo Xu & Marianne Bertrand & Robin Burgess, 2018. "Social Proximity and Bureaucrat Performance: Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 25389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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