Selected working papers (drafts available upon request).
Casas, Julieta. "You're Fired! Patronage, Civil Service Reform, and the Political Activation of Disgruntled Bureaucrats." Under review.
Why did some countries in the Americas implement effective civil service reforms while others did not? I argue that existing theories pay little attention to a crucial condition: the patronage system that countries are trying to leave behind with the enactment of reform. The hiring and firing practices of patronage systems create opportunities for the emergence of political entrepreneurs interested in reform or preclude such opportunities. Drawing on state-building scholarship in comparative politics and political development in American politics, I develop a theoretical framework that accounts for both successful and failed civil service reforms. I apply the theory to the U.S. and Argentina, providing original archival evidence. The article elucidates the longstanding puzzle of bureaucracy professionalization in the absence of war, generating new insights for contemporary debates on bureaucratic politics. It identifies the conditions under which countries can outlaw patronage, providing generalizable theoretical expectations for similar contexts.
Casas, Julieta. "Bridging Disciplinary Boundaries: Situating American Exceptionalism in Comparative Perspective." (Manuscript in Preparation).
In recent years political scientists recognized the need to bridge the gap between the traditionally separated subfields of American and comparative politics. Yet, few procedures have been developed for taking on such a task. For this article, I systematically review scholarly work that seeks to situate the U.S. in comparative perspective published in leading journals in political science since 2016. I find that the primary methodological strategy that scholars have followed was to increase the N—that is, to use the U.S. as a case, among others. I argue that less exploited—and less work-intensive—strategies can be as fruitful in producing insight and reducing the gap between subfields. I present a framework for situating American exceptionalism from a comparative and historical perspective and suggest procedures for future research at the intersection of American and comparative politics.