This project uses surveys of public servants in the United States and Brazil to analyze differences in bureaucratic capacity and autonomy. The results show that despite Brazil’s bureaucrats being highly educated and skilled, their lack of resources available to complete agency tasks greatly affects both bureaucratic and state capacity in Brazil. One major difference between the two countries could be the problem: Brazil’s large number of political appointees, which increases corruption levels and further politicizes Brazil’s bureaucratic agencies.
This cross-national sector-level analysis of bureaucratic capacity and autonomy provides a framework for future comparisons of different bureaucracies. Through using survey to generate a more accurate picture of the bureaucracies in the United States and Brazil, this paper challenges the existing use of country-wide performance-based indicators and furthers the understanding of the differences between these two hemispheric giants.
Major: Political Science
Hometown: Earlysville, VA
Class year: 2022
Project Focus: Cross-national and sector-level analysis of bureaucratic capacity and autonomy through use of survey data in the United States and Brazil