Ministerial Typology and Political Appointments: Where and How Do Presidents Politicize the Bureaucracy?
Authors: Mariana Batista; Felix Lopez
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Does ministry type influence profiles in upper-level bureaucracy? To govern, presidents need to 01. maintain control over the content of public policies, 02. make political concessions that earn them enough parliamentary support to see those policies approved, and 03. build or keep in place the bureaucratic competencies necessary to implement them. We argue that the president makes key appointments according to the nature of the policies of each ministry and their centrality in the executive branch’s decision-making process. Employing cluster analysis, we propose an objective classification of ministries into four types: ‘coordination’, ‘redistribution’ (social policy and income), ‘regulation’, and ‘distribution’. We also identify their relationship with the profiles of those who have occupied positions in the middle and upper echelons of Brazil’s federal bureaucracy – what are referred to in Brazilian nomenclature as ‘DAS roles’ (in which ‘DAS’ stands for Direção e Assessoramento Superior) – in the period from 1999 to 2016. Our findings indicate that presidents choose to professionalize the bureaucracy of the ‘coordination’ and ‘redistribution’ ministries, to appoint partisans to the bureaucracy of the ‘distribution’ and ‘regulation’ ministries, and to allocate partisans of the coalition partners to the ministries controlled by those parties.