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Patrons against clients: Electoral uncertainty and bureaucratic tenure in politicized states

Schuster, C; (2020) Patrons against clients: Electoral uncertainty and bureaucratic tenure in politicized states. Regulation & Governance , 14 (1) pp. 26-43. 10.1111/rego.12186. Green open access

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Abstract

Why would incumbents undertake institutional reforms that constrain their discretion over state resources? Many studies point to electoral competition in response. They argue that incumbents who risk exit from office undertake reform to insure themselves against potentially hostile successors. This paper challenges this line of reasoning, arguing that it confounds two potential implications of electoral competition – potential and certain electoral losses – which yield contrary reform incentives. Certain exits from office may well incentivize reforms as insurance. Where elections are contested, however, incumbents face incentives to resist reforms that constrain discretion over state resources that provide incumbents with electoral advantage. This argument is developed and assessed with an institutional reform the literature has so far neglected: job stability protections (tenure) in politicized bureaucracies. A case analysis of the Dominican Republic and suggestive cross-country data confirm theoretical predictions: electoral uncertainty dis-incentivizes tenure reform. Electoral competition may thus be a double-edged sword for institutional reform.

Type: Article
Title: Patrons against clients: Electoral uncertainty and bureaucratic tenure in politicized states
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/rego.12186
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/rego.12186
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: civil service reform; electoral competition; institutional reform; patronage; tenure
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10045084
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