Guillermo Toral

Link to CV

I am a PhD candidate in Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where I specialize in comparative politics, political economy, and methods, with a substantive focus on issues of development, governance, and corruption. I am a Visiting Democracy Fellow at the Harvard Ash Center and a Graduate Research Fellow at MIT GOV/LAB.

My dissertation challenges the long-held view that the political appointment of bureaucrats (or patronage, for short) serves only one purpose -the clientelistic hiring of political supporters- and is always detrimental for development. I unpack patronage by distinguishing five rationales that drive politicians' use of public employment, and document their divergent implications for government accountability and public service delivery. Empirically, I focus on Brazilian local governments and leverage a variety of methods and data, including experimental and quasi-experimental studies, original face-to-face and online surveys, administrative microdata for the universe of public employees, and more than 130 in-depth interviews conducted over 18 months of fieldwork. Some of my other research explores the effectiveness of anti-corruption policies and agencies, the role of information in within-government and electoral accountability, and the causes and consequences of the enfranchisement of immigrants. My research has been supported by the Lemann Foundation, MIT GOV/LAB, the Center for International Studies, MISTI and the Program on Governance and Local Development.

Before joining MIT, I spent several years working on education policy and human development programs at the World Bank in Washington DC and across Latin America. Prior to that, I obtained an MPhil in Comparative Politics from the University of Oxford, and a degree in Political Science and Public Administration from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.