Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Combining patronage and merit in public sector recruitment

Brierley, Sarah (2019) Combining patronage and merit in public sector recruitment. Journal of Politics. ISSN 0022-3816 (In Press)

[img] Text (Combining patronage and merit in public sector recruitment) - Accepted Version
Pending embargo until 1 January 2100.

Download (284kB) | Request a copy


When do politicians in developing democracies prioritize meritocratic recruitment over patronage hiring for public sector jobs? I distinguish between menial and professional positions and argue that the former are valuable for sustaining party machines, while manipulating the latter can undermine state performance. Accordingly, politicians will interfere to ensure their co-partisans are hired to menial positions but select professional bureaucrats based on meritocratic criteria. I test my argument using novel bureaucrat-level data from Ghana (n = 17,942) and leverage a change in the governing party to investigate hiring patterns. The results suggest that partisan bias is confined to menial jobs. The findings shed light on the mixed effects of electoral competition on patronage identified in prior studies: competition may dissuade politicians from interfering in recruitment to high-ranked positions, but encourage them to hire partisans for low-ranked positions.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 The Southern Political Science Association
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2019 16:18
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2020 00:32

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics