Municipal Performance: Does Mayoral Quality Matter?

Avellaneda, Claudia N.
April 2009
Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory;Apr2009, Vol. 19 Issue 2, p285
Academic Journal
This article presents the first empirical study in a Latin-American country on the effects of managerial quality upon municipal performance in education. Using 6 years of data from 40 Colombian municipalities, I assess the influence of mayoral qualifications—education and job-related experience—on the percentage of the eligible population actually enrolled in school. After considering other political, economic, and demographic factors, the findings show that mayoral qualifications are associated with greater school enrollment. This positive influence, however, decreases under external, constraints, such as the presence of illegal armed groups. The findings should apply in any setting where the provision of social services is decentralized and where the mayor also plays the role of city manager, performing both political and administrative functions. The study has implications for countries struggling to eradicate illiteracy as results show that mayoral human capital enhances educational performance.


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