Luis Fernando Soto Tamayo

Thesis title:

Measuring Nepotism and Its Effects on the Mexican Public Institutions


This project aims to explore the association between nepotism and public institutions’ performance in the context of the Mexican public sector, and contribute to the understanding of the effects of patronizing employment in Latin America. Emerging democracies face the challenge of building solid institutional frameworks capable of hiring efficient public servants that deliver public policies responding to societies and economies’ current needs. Existing literature identifies contradictory evidence about the association between patronizing employment and public institutions’ performance, claiming either positive and negative effects on institutions. Moreover, the literature on nepotism has failed to link the concept of nepotism with the measurement effectively. Empirical studies overlook this connotation and focus solely on partially quantifying the concept. The first part of the project is conceptual and theoretical, in which it is intended to understand the concept of nepotism and the strengths and weaknesses of the different methods of measuring and operationalizing it. This will enable to focus on empirically testing the argument that public officials’ appointments based on family relationships -instead of professional merit- could reduce public institutions’ performance. I test my hypotheses drawing on perception surveys and surname-based methods, and also on original data from the judiciary and the majority of the public institutions in Mexico.

First supervisor:

Gabriel Leon


13-Politics, Public Policy & Governance