Estimating Bureaucratic Ideal Points from Campaign Contributions
1 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2012 Last revised: 9 Aug 2012
Date Written: 2012
Political scientists have devised various methods to measure the political ideologies of administrative agencies and high-ranking public bureaucrats. This paper contributes to this line of research by using political campaign contributions to estimate public bureaucrats’ political ideologies. Bureaucrat ideal points estimated via our method vary across time, compare meaningfully with ideological estimates in other branches of government, cover employees across a wide range of agencies, yield insight into intra-agency ideological variation, and can be updated with minimal labor. To demonstrate our method, we estimate the political ideologies of politically appointed administrators in the U.S. federal government. We then use those estimates to test hypotheses about how U.S. presidents strategically manage the process of appointing individuals to federal bureaucratic posts requiring Senate confirmation.
Keywords: Bureaucracy, Ideal Point Estimation, Political Ideology, Senate Confirmation
JEL Classification: D72, D73, D78
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation