Panel Paper: Administrative Reform, Political Ideology, and Bureaucratic Effort: Performance Management In the Bush Administration

Saturday, November 10, 2012 : 10:55 AM
Hopkins (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Stephane Lavertu, The Ohio State University, David E. Lewis, Vanderbilt University and Donald Moynihan, University of Wisconsin, Madison

This paper examines how ideological divergence between presidents and agencies affects the time and effort government agencies expend in implementing administrative reforms. Our empirical focus is on the George W. Bush administration’s Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) evaluation process, which required federal agencies to participate in evaluating their own programs. Interestingly, we find that respondents who worked in liberal agencies reported greater agency-wide effort than those who worked in conservative agencies, regardless of respondents’ own political preferences and regardless of the perceived budgetary consequences associated with poor PART reviews. Further study reveals that liberal agencies’ greater effort is partly attributable to their smaller size, the greater number of PART reviews they were required to conduct, and their administration of regulatory programs. These results obtain using multiple and qualitatively different measures of ideology and administrative burden from multiple data sources.

Full Paper: