Julieta Casas


I am a scholar of comparative political development. I study state-building and democratization in Latin America and the United States from a historical perspective. My work seeks to bridge the gap between the subfields of comparative and American politics to address canonical questions about political and economic development. My research and teaching agenda takes a hemispheric perspective, comparing the sociopolitical trajectories of the U.S., Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. I am currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Political Science Department at Johns Hopkins University. In 2024-2015, I will be a postdoctoral fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University.

Why did some countries in the Americas implement effective civil service reforms while others did not? My book-style dissertation accounts for the degree of success of civil service reforms across the Americas using original historical data for the U.S. and Argentina. The study proposes that the type of predecessor patronage regime is crucial in explaining the success of civil service reforms. All countries had some form of patronage, but not all patronage systems were the same: they varied in hiring and practices. The theory innovates by emphasizing how consequential firing practices can be in the success of civil service reform efforts. Where the patronage system featured rotation in office after party turnover, political entrepreneurs emerged, mobilized for reform, and reform succeeded. But not all patronage systems removed employees after party turnover; some featured virtually no layoffs. Public employees organized for sectorial benefits there, and civil service reform failed.

During my fieldwork, I collected and systematized data on public employment in Argentina in the 19th and early 20th centuries, including civil service reform bills, bureaucratic censuses, government documents, and reports from public employee associations, and finally, a dataset that tracks the hiring and firings of public employees at the federal level for selected years between 1862 and 1930. For the U.S., I relied on similar compilations, completed them, and digitized data on local chapters of civil service reform associations.  

The American Political Science Association Centennial Grants and the Johns Hopkins Suveges Fellowship have supported my research. 

Curriculum vitae

Contact: jcasas2@jhu.edu