Presidential Patronage Makes for Bad Managers

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

One Response to Presidential Patronage Makes for Bad Managers

  1. JW April 22, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

    Wouldn’t it make some difference which program they are administering? Not all programs are equal.