Presidential Patronage Makes for Bad Managers

by John Sides on April 22, 2013 · 1 comment

in Bureaucracy,Presidency

In this paper we examine the relationship between presidential patronage and federal agency performance. Using PART management scores for 1,016 federal programs during the Bush Administration, we compare the performance of federal programs administered by appointees from the campaign or party against programs run by other appointees or career professionals. We introduce new means of overcoming the shortcomings of PART scores in order to make reliable inferences from this measure of federal program performance. We find that federal programs administered by appointees from the campaign or party earn lower PART scores than programs run by other appointees or by career executives. We conclude that while appointing persons from the campaign or party provides presidents an important source of political capital and arguably improves accountability, it also has costs for agency performance.

From a new article by Nick Gallo and David Lewis (gated; ungated).  PART refers to the Program Assessment Rating Tool.  Here’s a graph of the average PART scores by different types of appointees:

gallolewis

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