Working Papers

This is a list of selected works in progress. If you are interested in reading any of these working papers, please, send me an e-mail and I will be happy to share.

Invited to Revise & Resubmit

From Drug Lords to Police State: The Effects of Order Transition on Local Economies
Leonardo Fernandes, João V. Guedes-Neto, and Jose Íncio
(Invited to R&R by Comparative Political Studies)

What is the effect on local economies when the state intervenes to capture its own territories back from non-state actors? In 2008, the government of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil implemented a policy to take control of slums that were previously dominated by criminal organizations. We use day and night luminosity to assess the effects of this program on economic growth. The difference-in-differences design shows that state intervention has a significant and negative average treatment effect on the favelas that received the intervention. We further test two mechanisms to explain this economic downturn: distrust in the state actors and institutional replacement. Based on crime data, we propose that this effect is caused by the destruction of local markets, especially shadow activities. The data highlight the perils of order transition, even when stationary bandits are removed by state actors. Furthermore, this paper reinforces the need for policies that are mindful of the externalities of institutional shifts.

Mapping the Center of Government in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Typology
João V. Guedes-Neto
(Invited to R&R by Revista de Administração Pública)

Over two decades ago, Bardach (1998, p. 4) highlighted a core problem of public administration: “Agencies cooperate? Of course not!” One of the solutions identified by scholars and practitioners has been the Center of Government (CoG), that is, organizations created by elected officials to facilitate inter-ministerial cooperation for the design and implementation of priority policies. Originally developed in European parliamentary systems or at Franklin Roosevelt’s presidential center in the United States, the CoG has recently gained momentum in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) after a collective effort between the IDB and the OECD. This paper maps the historical path and most recent institutional design of CoG organizations in 27 LAC countries as of 2020. The outcome of an exhaustive data collection process is a typology with five dimensions and 15 ideal types that help scholars and practitioners to better understand how and why these organizations have now been widely adopted in the region. 

Under Review

Staying, Moving, and Quitting: Bureaucratic Response to Partisan Favoritism in U.S. Federal Agencies
João V. Guedes-Neto

Why do bureaucrats decide to move or quit? From 2010 to 2019, 18% of the almost four million respondents of surveys conducted with US federal bureaucrats expressed the intention of moving to another agency and 4% were thinking of leaving the government. These numbers suggest that Brehm and Gates’ (1999) triad working, shirking, and sabotage could be expanded. This paper proposes that, when dissatisfied, bureaucrats also move and quit. Based on generalized multilevel mixed-effects regressions, it demonstrates that the perception of partisan favoritism in one’s agency is a core determinant of exit. That is, when bureaucrats perceive their agencies to be controlled by party interests, they start considering leaving it for either another federal organization or a job outside the government. These findings contribute to the study of the politics of the bureaucracy, executive politics, and the influences of partisanship.

Resisting Political Control: The Public Bureaucracy in an Era of Populist Politics
João V. Guedes-Neto and B. Guy Peters

In normal times, civil servants tend to behave like good Weberian bureaucrats, who comply with the expectations of their principals.  Yet, does this expectation hold in an era of populist politics?  During the week of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, we conducted a set of survey experiments with a sample of 420 bureaucrats to causally identify their willingness to shirk or sabotage the government if assigned with the implementation of an undemocratic policy.  Our list and vignette experiments show that roughly 60% of the respondents are willing to resist, especially if they work at the federal level and do not have a supervisory position.  Most respondents affirm to be inelastic to peer pressures, confirming that they seek to preserve their democratic values above the wishes of their colleagues and elected officials.  These findings suggest that the civil service is a point of resistance in processes of democratic backsliding.

The Cost of Being Foreign: Evidence from a Nationally Representative Experiment in the US
Pedro Makhoul, João V. Guedes-Neto, and Aldo Musacchio

We conduct a conjoint experiment with a nationally representative sample of 3,010 US residents to assess their opinions on the acquisition of domestic companies by foreign firms. On average, US residents are 16 percentage points less likely to support a foreign firm as the preferred acquirer to an American company, compared to an identical domestic firm. We also show that there is a tension between nationalistic preferences and economic incentives. Still, it is quite hard for foreign firms to overcome their disadvantage by offering more favorable deal conditions. Additionally, we demonstrate that liability of foreignness (LOF) is considerably more complex than previously theorized by showing that LOF is not only a firm-level phenomenon, but also runs at the ownership level. Finally, we argue that both practitioners and strategy and IB scholars should pay more attention to the effects of public opinion, as understanding how the local population feel about foreign acquisitions can be quite important to managers when planning their international expansions and when entering negotiations to acquire a foreign company.

“And some, I assume, are good people”: Contextual Determinants of Elite Rhetoric towards Immigrants and Refugees
João V. Guedes-Neto and Alex Honeker

What are the conditional determinants of elite rhetoric towards immigrants and refugees? Relying on a sentiment analysis of tweets of members of the US House of Representatives during the 2020 presidential election campaign, we test how different theories of inter-group relations moderate the already known effects of partisanship. While the salience and valence of migration as a political topic divide Republicans and Democrats, we find that geographical location and a district’s ethnic homogeneity appear to not affect party unity. Yet, in accordance with Realistic Conflict Theory, unemployment rate moderates Republicans’ (but not Democrats’) rhetoric towards immigrants, making members of both parties converge in districts with high availability of jobs. The moderating effect of unemployment, however, is not present when legislators talk about refugees, with parties converging on tone but diverging on the groups labeled as “refugees.”

The Effects of Political Attitudes on Affective Polarization: Survey Evidence from 165 Elections
João V. Guedes-Neto

How do individual-level political attitudes influence affective polarization in a global scale? This paper contributes to the debate on the social distance of party affect by testing a set of hypotheses in 165 elections across the world. With a sample of over 175,000 voters, the results of multilevel mixed-effects regressions demonstrate that ideological radicalism, political knowledge, and external efficacy substantively affect how voters see the main political parties in electoral disputes taking place in 52 countries from 1996 to 2019. Satisfaction with democracy, on the other hand, is context dependent: it positively influences affective polarization only when generalized system support is low. Furthermore, I show that these correlations remain stable regardless of the operationalization of affective polarization – that is, based on two dominant parties and weighted for multiparty competition. These findings provide robust inputs to the study of party preferences and social distance in a cross-national longitudinal perspective.