Turkey Farms, Patronage, and Obama Administration Appointments
David E. Lewis
Vanderbilt University - Department of Political Science; Vanderbilt University - Law School
September 25, 2009
Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 09-24
Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 09-24
In this paper we use new data on over 1,000 persons appointed to positions in the first six months of the Obama presidency to expand our understanding of presidential appointments and modern patronage practices. We use systematically collected appointee biographical data to determine which agencies receive appointees with fewer qualifications and more extensive campaign experience or political connections. We finds that presidents tend to place patronage appointees in those agencies that are less central to the president’s agenda, with the same political ideology as the president, and where appointees are least able to hurt agency performance. We conclude that the controversial role of patronage in the modern presidency embodies the deeper conflict that emerges from a need for both presidential accountability and broader government performance.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 41
Keywords: executive branch, appointments, presidency, personnel, patronageworking papers series
Date posted: September 25, 2009 ; Last revised: October 7, 2009
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