Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy > Vol 4 > Issue 3

Do Political Hawks Prioritize Different Policies Than Technocrats? Politicization and Governors’ Spending Priorities

Julio A. Ramos Pastrana, Ostrom Workshop, Indiana University, USA, jaramos@colmex.mx , Johabed G. Olvera, School of Public Policy, Pennsylvania State University, USA, jolvera@psu.edu , Claudia N. Avellaneda, O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, USA, cavellan@indiana.edu
 
Suggested Citation
Julio A. Ramos Pastrana, Johabed G. Olvera and Claudia N. Avellaneda (2023), "Do Political Hawks Prioritize Different Policies Than Technocrats? Politicization and Governors’ Spending Priorities", Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy: Vol. 4: No. 3, pp 333-371. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/113.00000081

Publication Date: 30 Nov 2023
© 2023 J. A. Ramos Pastrana, J. G. Olvera, and C. N. Avellaneda
 
Subjects
Bureaucracy: Public administration,  Government,  Political economy,  Public administration,  Government programs and public policy,  Public economics: Public finance
 
Keywords
Career pathpoliticizationpublic spendingperformance
 

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In this article:
Introduction 
Literature Review 
A Theoretical Framework for Understanding the Impact of Governors’ Career Paths on Spending Priorities 
Case Study: Mexican Governors’ Career Paths and Spending Priorities 
Data and Empirical Strategy 
Results 
Conclusion 
References 

Abstract

Do political hawks prioritize different policies than technocrats? We address this question by building on the task-specific human capital framework, implementation literature, and politicization theory. We argue that skills accumulated in politicized posts differ from those accrued in technocratic posts. Once in office, leaders align their differentiated set of skills with certain spending priorities and with implementing specific policies. Chief executives who pursue mainly technocratic career paths will prioritize policies requiring an administrative implementation process. In contrast, those with predominant political career paths will prioritize policies requiring a political implementation process. The causal effect of career paths on spending priorities is estimated using an instrumental variable approach, using a panel data set of Mexican governors during the 1995–2014 period. Our findings suggest governors with more experience in politicized posts spend more on labor policies characterized by a political implementation process and less on health policies requiring an administrative implementation process. In line with the literature linking spending with health and labor outcomes, we find that governors with more experience in politicized posts have larger improvements in labor outcomes and lower improvements in health outcomes.

DOI:10.1561/113.00000081