Individual Submission Summary

Direct link:


How Executive Politics Affects U.S. Federal Administrative Leadership Stability

Sat, August 31, 12:00 to 1:30pm, Marriott, Harding


There is a considerable amount of scholarship highlighting that appointed administrative leaders have disproportionate policy influence within government agencies, but also serve much shorter tenures compared to civil servants. As a result, much of the instability experienced by government agencies is dependent upon the tenure of agency leaders. In our proposed study, we develop a logic that focuses on how politics (in the form of partisan and separation of powers politics), institutions (in the form of agency design and reorganization) and the extent to which administrative leaders’ individual characteristics shape their tenure in appointed positions have loyalty to the appointing president and the level of managerial skills and policy expertise that they possess based on their qualifications. To test the empirical implications derived from our theory, we plan to analyze the tenure distributions of a sample of appointed agency leaders within 54 U.S. federal administrative organizations from 1977-2009 (Carter through G.W. Bush administrations). We intend to complement this individual-level analysis with a team-level analysis of agency leaders within a given agency to assess leadership team durability and stability, respectively.