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.

An Agenda for Europe

Institutional Reform for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Omslag 2017 Institutional Reform for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.jpg

The authors of this book, Niklas Elert, Magnus Henrekson and Mikael Stenkula, advise the economies of the European Union to become more entrepreneurial in promoting innovation and economic growth. The authors propose a reform strategy with respect to several aspects to achieve this goal.


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