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


  • Fernanda Brollo,

    (University of Warwick, CAGE, and CEPR)

  • Forquesato, Pedro


  • Gozzi, Juan Carlos

    (University of Warwick)


We analyze how political discretion a.ects 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

  • Fernanda Brollo, & Forquesato, Pedro & Gozzi, Juan Carlos, 2017. "To the Victor Belongs the Spoils? Party Membership and Public Sector Employment in Brazil," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1144, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:1144

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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. Ernesto Calvo & Maria Victoria Murillo, 2004. "Who Delivers? Partisan Clients in the Argentine Electoral Market," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 48(4), pages 742-757, October.
    3. Ernesto Dal Bó & Frederico Finan & Martín A. Rossi, 2013. "Strengthening State Capabilities: The Role of Financial Incentives in the Call to Public Service," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(3), pages 1169-1218.
    4. Fernando Augusto Mansor de Mattos, 2011. "Emprego Público no Brasil: Aspectos Históricos, Inserção no Mercado de Trabalho Nacional e Evolução Recente," Discussion Papers 1582, Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada - IPEA.
    5. Juan Carlos Cortázar Velarde & Mariano Lafuente & Mario Sanginés & Christian Schuster & Koldo Echebarría & Francisco Longo & Luciano Strazza & Mercedes Iacoviello, 2014. "Serving Citizens: A Decade of Civil Service Reforms in Latin America (2004-13)," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 86407 edited by Juan Carlos Cortázar Velarde & Mariano Lafuente & Mario Sanginés, February.
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    7. repec:idb:brikps:6636 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Timothy Besley & Olle Folke & Torsten Persson & Johanna Rickne, 2017. "Gender Quotas and the Crisis of the Mediocre Man: Theory and Evidence from Sweden," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(8), pages 2204-2242, August.
    9. Irineu E de Carvalho Filho & Marcello M. Estevão, 2012. "Institutions, Informality, and Wage Flexibility; Evidence From Brazil," IMF Working Papers 2012/084, International Monetary Fund.
    10. Cortázar Velarde, Juan Carlos & Lafuente, Mariano & Sanginés, Mario & Schuster, Christian & Echebarría, Koldo & Longo, Francisco & Strazza, Luciano & Iacoviello, Mercedes, 2014. "Serving Citizens: A Decade of Civil Service Reforms in Latin America (2004-13)," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 6636, March.
    11. Marcel Fafchamps & Julien Labonne, 2017. "Do Politicians’ Relatives Get Better Jobs? Evidence from Municipal Elections," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(2), pages 268-300.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Klenio Barbosa & Fernando V. Ferreira, 2019. "Occupy Government: Democracy and the Dynamics of Personnel Decisions and Public Sector Performance," NBER Working Papers 25501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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).
    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;
    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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