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I4R Discussion Paper Series #39


Sebastian Gallegos (UAI Business School)

Political Turnover Negatively Affects the Quality of Public Services: A Replication

The politically motivated replacement in local governments is a pervasive fact in our modern democracies. Whether it has causal effects on the quality of public services, such as education, is a critical question and yet understudied. This paper uses a regression discontinuity design (RDD) for close elections to replicate Akthari, Moreira and Trucco (2022) who find negative effects on the quality of public education in Brazil (.05-.08 standard deviations of lower test scores). I first reproduce these main results, finding minor computational differences that have no effect on the conclusions. I also show that the estimates for Brazil are in general robust to different specifications following Brodeur, Cook and Heyes (2020). Finally, I implement the same RDD framework now applied to Chilean administrative records to find null effects on test scores. Taken together, these results suggest that political turnover has weakly negative effects on service quality.

JEL-Klassifikation: D72, D73, H75, H76, J45, O17

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