Career bureaucrats forge foreign policy at domestic agencies and international economic organizations. They are neither elected nor appointed, yet they implement policies and mediate negotiations. This three-paper dissertation answers the questions of how the career incentives of bureaucrats affect their responsiveness to principals, and how the implementation of policies by bureaucrats, in turn, affects elections. The first paper examines how bureaucrats allocate trade assistance benefits to workers in response to conditional tenure, an employment institution used in United States federal bureaucracies. Exploiting the quasi-random assignment of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) petitions to individual investigators at different stages of their careers, I demonstrate that career bureaucrats, when they are untenured, are less likely to certify TAA petitions and are more likely to delay investigations during Republican presidencies relative to Democratic presidencies. The second paper investigates the impact of trade-related compensation on elections. Using the leniency of career bureaucrats who certify TAA petitions as an instrument, I find that access to TAA builds electoral support in hard-hit areas, but not in areas where the program may be more informative about the costs of globalization. The third paper turns the focus to bureaucrats who hold appointments at an international organization (IO). There, I show that transparency, an institution partly designed to improve the bureaucrats’ accountability to all member states, can deteriorate the performance and quality of bureaucrats. My formal model predicts that competent international bureaucrats in equilibrium either remain silent during mediation or choose not to work at an IO when transparency is high. The theoretical prediction is supported with a comparative case study of the leadership of the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) and the relatively more transparent World Trade Organization (WTO). By analyzing how bureaucrats respond to institutions that shape their career incentives, the papers together illuminate the importance of institutional design in understanding government responses to globalization.




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