Estimating Bureaucratic Ideal Points from Campaign Contributions

1 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2012 Last revised: 9 Aug 2012

See all articles by Adam Bonica

Adam Bonica

Stanford University

Jowei Chen

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Political Science

Tim Johnson

Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

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

Bonica, Adam and Chen, Jowei and Johnson, Tim, Estimating Bureaucratic Ideal Points from Campaign Contributions (2012). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2105535

Adam Bonica

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Jowei Chen

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Political Science ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Tim Johnson (Contact Author)

Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University ( email )

900 State Street
Salem, OR 97301
United States

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