Subnational Government Performance: Testing Multiple Dimensions of Governors' Experience

Johabed G. Olvera, Claudia N. Avellaneda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This article tests whether governors' work experience explains their state performance. Although the experience-performance relationship has been researched, empirical studies report inconsistent results. This inconsistency might be due to the dissimilar conceptualization and operationalization of the work experience construct, for it can be conceptualized in qualitative or quantitative components. To address this disparity, the authors follow Tesluk and Jacob's conceptualization by operationalizing gubernatorial experience across three dimensions: type (qualitative component), number of jobs, and years of work experience (quantitative component). The study tests the moderating effects of state context (level of violence) on the experience-performance relationship, relying on data derived from 32 Mexican states over 16 years. Education outputs (high school enrollment) and health outcomes (infant mortality rate) are used to assess state performance. Results indicate that only the qualitative dimension of governors' work experience boosts state performance by reducing infant mortality and increasing high school enrollment. However, this positive effect is undermined by state violence. The number of jobs decreases gubernatorial performance, magnified by the degree of state violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-398
Number of pages16
JournalPublic Administration Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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