Political Turnover, Bureaucratic Turnover, and the Quality of Public Services

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We study how political turnover in mayoral elections in Brazil affects public education provision. Exploiting a regression discontinuity design for close elections, we find that municipalities with a new party in office subsequently have test scores that are .05–.08 standard deviations lower. Party turnover leads to a sharp increase in the replacement rate of head-masters and teachers in schools controlled by the municipality. In contrast, turnover of the mayor’s party does not impact local (non-municipal) schools. These findings suggest that political turnover can adversely affect the quality of public services when the bureaucracy is not shielded from the political process.



Revise and Resubmit, American Economic Review

Last updated on 08/19/2018