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This paper examines how the adoption of the Australian ballot (AB), and ipso facto, the transition from the nominal to effective secret vote, shaped the nature of party politics in Brazil. Engaging the literature on political clientelism, the impact of the AB on three outcomes is studied: 1) the ideological leanings of voters at the ballot box; 2) the degree of electoral control enjoyed by local vote brokers; and 3) the capacity of citizens to effectively participate in the electoral process. In order to get leverage on these issues, the paper utilizes an original dataset -painstakingly assembled from regional electoral archives- which contains municipal-level vote returns for federal deputy and senate contests during the period before and after the AB’s introduction in Brazil (1958-1962). The dataset exploits the fact that the AB was introduced at different times in different states and for different offices in the country, thereby creating an unprecedented opportunity to assess the impact of this institution. Using a triple difference-in-difference procedure, the study finds that the AB: 1) shifted the ideological balance of power from Right to Left; 2) did not greatly weaken the hand of vote brokers; and 3) greatly increased the proportion of wasted votes cast in elections.
Merit-based selection of bureaucrats is central to state capacity building, yet rare in developing countries. Most executives instead favor patronage—political discretion—in public employment. This paper proposes and tests an original theory to explain when executives forsake patronage for merit. The theory exploits exogenous variation in the institutional design of patronage states. In some, ... (View publication)
What determines the capacity of countries to design, approve and implement effective public policies? To address this question, this book builds on the results of case studies of political institutions, policymaking processes, and policy outcomes in eight Latin American countries. The result is a volume that benefits from both micro detail on the intricacies of policymaking in individual coun ... (View publication)
Over the past 30 years, democratic freedoms and competitive electoral processes have taken hold as never before in Latin America. How Democracy Works takes a detailed look, from an institutional perspective, at each of the main actors on the policymaking stage in Latin America, emphasizing the extent to which institutions facilitate or hinder intertemporal political cooperation and compromise. It ... (View publication)
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