Credible Commitments in Policy and Administration
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The theoretical argument of this dissertation contains a set of conditions under which professional personnel systems serve as political tools to make government efforts to implement public policies credible and reliable, and thus to protect democracy. The dissertation includes two empirical applications, which constitute critical cases for the theoretical argument. The first is a case study of the new merit system for the higher echelons of Mexico's federal public administration. It is based on Mexican academic literature, elite interviews conducted in November 2007, and quantitative analysis of personnel data. The second is a test of the hypothesis that officers operating under merit system protections create stability, using panel data on English local governments in the 1950s and 1960s. It is based on analysis of a panel covering budget shares and political party control. Overall, the findings from both empirical applications lend support to the theoretical argument.
Petrovsky, Nicolai (2009). Credible Commitments in Policy and Administration. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from