Measuring Agency Attributes with Attitudes Across Time: A Method and Examples Using Large-Scale Federal Surveys

Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Forthcoming

USC CLEO Research Paper No. C13-12

USC Law Legal Studies Paper No. 13-13

52 Pages Posted: 16 May 2013 Last revised: 12 Nov 2013

See all articles by Anthony M. Bertelli

Anthony M. Bertelli

Bocconi University - DONDENA - Carlo F. Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics; Pennsylvania State University

Dyana Mason

University of Southern California - Price School of Public Policy

Jennifer Connolly

University of Southern California - Price School of Public Policy

David Gastwirth

University of Southern California - Price School of Public Policy

Date Written: June 17, 2013

Abstract

Public management researchers are interested in many characteristics of organizations that cannot be directly captured, making aggregated attitudes from surveys an attractive proxy. Yet difficulties in measuring meaningful attributes over time and across organizations have frequently limited statistical designs to a single organization or time. We offer a method for creating such statistical measures across agencies and time using item response theory. Focusing our attention on U.S. federal administrative agencies, we marshal a variety of questions from surveys commissioned by the Office of Personnel Management and Merit Systems Protection Board and employ statistical models to measure three important attributes — autonomy, job satisfaction, and intrinsic motivation — for 71 agencies between 1998-2010. Our study provides a wealth of data for quantitative public management research designs as well as an adaptable framework for measuring a wide range of concepts.

Keywords: measurement, item response theory, administrative surveys, public administration

Suggested Citation

Bertelli, Anthony M. and Mason, Dyana and Connolly, Jennifer and Gastwirth, David, Measuring Agency Attributes with Attitudes Across Time: A Method and Examples Using Large-Scale Federal Surveys (June 17, 2013). Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Forthcoming; USC CLEO Research Paper No. C13-12; USC Law Legal Studies Paper No. 13-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2265678

Anthony M. Bertelli (Contact Author)

Bocconi University - DONDENA - Carlo F. Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics ( email )

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

University Park, PA 16802-3306
United States

HOME PAGE: http://tonybertelli.com

Dyana Mason

University of Southern California - Price School of Public Policy ( email )

Lewis Hall 312
Los Angeles, CA 90089-062

Jennifer Connolly

University of Southern California - Price School of Public Policy ( email )

Lewis Hall 312
Los Angeles, CA 90089-062
United States

David Gastwirth

University of Southern California - Price School of Public Policy ( email )

Lewis Hall 312
Los Angeles, CA 90089-062

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