Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 November 2021
Based on data collected from local administrations in Argentina, Chapters 3 to 6 provide strong evidence in support of the theory of self-enforcing patronage. Can this theory help explain the functioning of patronage employment in other places? While the data to test the theory systematically in other countries is not available,1 this chapter presents additional evidence from Latin America as an out-of-sample test of the theory, providing more confidence about the external validity of the argument. I draw attention to a series of patterns found in other Latin American countries that is consistent with the theory of self-enforcing patronage, increasing the likelihood that the theory and the findings of this book are portable to other contexts. In this chapter, I describe the remarkably weak Latin American civil service systems and provide evidence in line with the empirical implications of the theory: that public employees are more involved in the provision of political services than non-public employees are, that there is political bias in hiring decisions, and that patronage employees have good reasons to fear losing their jobs or suffering negative changes in their working conditions under a new administration. The first section in this chapter discusses Latin American civil service systems and their characteristics in order to assess whether the theory of self-enforcing patronage fits the general patterns found across the region. The second section considers three particular cases in more detail – Argentina (beyond the three municipalities analyzed before), Bolivia, and Chile.