52 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2011 Last revised: 1 Jun 2016
Date Written: May 31, 2016
In this paper we evaluate the relationship between political control and bureaucratic performance using information requested by researchers via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and congress via congressional committee requests. The information requested was the same, and the timing of requests was similar. We find modest evidence of a relationship between agency politicization and a lack of responsiveness to requests for information from the public and Congress. Politicized agencies are slower to respond to requests even when controlling for agency size and workload. There is little evidence, however, that these agencies are more likely to respond poorly when they do respond. The difficulties in responding appear to be due to poor performance of the FOIA offices, either because political actors focus more on other agency activities or because of poorer management agency-wide. We conclude that efforts to make agencies responsive to elected officials may hurt management performance.
Keywords: Freedom of Information, public administration, agency performance, political control of bureaucracy
JEL Classification: H11, H83
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Wood, Abby K. and Lewis, David E., Agency Performance Challenges and Agency Politicization (May 31, 2016). USC Law Legal Studies Paper No. 15-30; USC CLASS Research Series No. CLASS15-28. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1884392 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1884392