When Individual Politics Become Public: Do Civil Service Protections Insulate Government Workers?
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics (Forthcoming)
This paper examines whether the civil service system protected state bureaucrats
from political interference following a recall petition against the governor of Wisconsin.
I find that most classified workers, who were covered by the state civil service
laws, were paid equally by signing status following the public disclosure of the petition
list. Conversely, signers in the unclassified service, a smaller set of government
positions, were paid about 3 percent less annually relative to non-signers in the
post-disclosure period. These results indicate that the civil service insulated qualified
bureaucrats, while uncovered workers faced retribution.