NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
loading...

Elections, Ideology, and Turnover in the U.S. Federal Government

Alexander Bolton, John M. de Figueiredo, David E. Lewis

NBER Working Paper No. 22932
Issued in December 2016, Revised in February 2019
NBER Program(s):Law and Economics Program, Labor Studies Program, Public Economics Program

A defining feature of public sector employment is the regular change in elected leadership. Yet, we know little about how elections influence careers. We describe how elections can alter policy outputs and disrupt civil servants’ influence over agency decisions, potentially shaping their career choices. We use new data on federal career records between 1988 and 2011 to evaluate how elections influence turnover decisions. We find large levels of stability in the civil service but also pockets of employees that are responsive to presidential transitions. Senior career employees in agencies with views divergent from the president’s appear most affected. In the first three years of an administration, political factors such as elections, policy priorities, and political ideological differences, are estimated to increase turnover in the senior civil service by 30.9% in some agencies. We also find suggestive evidence that vacancies in high-level positions after elections may induce lower-level executives to stay longer in hopes of advancing.

download in pdf format
   (744 K)

email paper

A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the February 2017 NBER Digest.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Digest by email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22932

Published: Alexander Bolton & John M. De Figueiredo & David Lewis, 2018. "Elections, Ideology, and Turnover in the U.S. Federal Government," Academy of Management Proceedings, vol 2018(1).

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Gaynor, Ho, and Town w19800 The Industrial Organization of Health Care Markets
Garcia-Macia, Hsieh, and Klenow w22953 How Destructive is Innovation?
Piketty, Saez, and Zucman w22945 Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States
Cameron, de Figueiredo, and Lewis w22966 Public Sector Personnel Economics: Wages, Promotions, and the Competence-Control Trade-off
Brown and Matsa w22929 Locked in by Leverage: Job Search during the Housing Crisis
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us