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Research project

Effects of the introduction of merit civil service appointments on re-election rates in U.S. States

This project has received funding via the EUI Research Council calls 2022 and 2023.

Access to patronage appointments is believed to confer an electoral advantage. This project studies the effects of the introduction of merit civil service reform between 1883 and 2016 on re-election rates of individual legislators serving in lower houses of the 50 U.S. state legislatures. Using newly-developed statistical methods appropriate for analysing the staggered introduction of reform legislation, results show that re-election rates significantly increase following reform. This project interprets the increase in re-election rates that follows the prohibition on patronage appointments as flowing from improvements in both performance and selection. To investigate the mechanism more fully requires incorporating data on rerunning.

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