Patronage and Nepotism in the Mexican Federal Judiciary, 1917-2017

This paper analyzes patronage networks within the Mexican Federal Judiciary in the last one hundred years. The paper first uncovers and characterizes the patronage networks created from 1917 to 1994, when the Supreme Court hand-picked lower court judges. In 1995 a Judicial Council was created to select judges based on merit. The paper thus moves to gauge whether the patronage networks have had any persistent effects. Specifically, the paper evaluates whether hand-picked judges (pre-1995) engage in more nepotistic practices (i.e. employ more family members) than merit-selected judges (post-1995). Based on a rich and original database collected from different sources, the paper analyzes the judiciary as an organization, bringing a new light on the organizational pre-conditions required for the judiciary to become an effective institution for the administration and production of public law.