Elections and Reform: The Adoption of Civil Service Systems in the U.S. States

Reprint No. 2013:32

Author(s): Michael M. Ting, James M. Snyder, Jr, Shigeo Hirano and Olle FolkeYear: 2013 Title: Journal of Theoretical Politics Volume (No.): 25 (3) Pages: 363–387
Online article (restrictions may apply)

Most government bureaucracies in developed countries use civil service systems. What accounts for their adoption? We develop and test a model of bureaucratic reforms under repeated partisan competition. In the model, two political parties composed of overlapping generations of candidates compete for office. Under a spoils system, an incumbent politician can either continue to “politicize” the bureaucracy, which allows her to direct benefits to voters in a way that will increase her electoral prospects, or she can “insulate” the bureaucracy, which prevents all future winners from using the bureaucracy for electoral advantage. Our main result is that politicization persists when incumbents expect to win, and insulation takes place when they expect to lose. We test this hypothesis using data from the adoption of civil service reforms across the U.S. states. The predictions of the model are consistent with the empirical patterns leading up to the implementation of the general civil service reforms. Using both state and city level data, we observe an increase in partisan competition prior to the reforms.

Ting, Michael M., James M. Snyder, Jr, Shigeo Hirano and Olle Folke (2013), "Elections and Reform: The Adoption of Civil Service Systems in the U.S. States". Journal of Theoretical Politics 25(3), 363–387.

Olle Folke


Mob: +46 70 367 0242

Sick of Inequality?

An Introduction to the Relationship between Inequality and Health

Sick of Inequality.jpg

In this book Andreas Bergh, Therese Nilsson, IFN and Lund University, and Daniel Waldenström, IFN and Paris School of Economics, France, review the latest research on the relationship between inequality and health. What does inequality mean for our health? Does increasing income inequality affect outcomes such as obesity, life expectancy and subjective well-being?


Seminars organized by IFN


To present ongoing research informal brown-bag seminars are held on Mondays at 11:30 am. This is an opportunity for IFN researchers to test ideas and results.

Academically oriented seminars are most of the time held on Wednesdays at 10 am. At these events researchers from IFN and other institutions present their research.

In addition, IFN organizes seminars open to the public. Topics for these are derived from the IFN research.

Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Grevgatan 34 - 2 fl, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden | Phone: +46-(0)8-665 45 00 | info@ifn.se