Presidents and Patronage

American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 58, Issue 4, pp. 1024-1042, 2014

Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 14-9

71 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2014 Last revised: 21 May 2015

See all articles by Gary Hollibaugh

Gary Hollibaugh

University of Notre Dame - Department of Political Science

Gabriel Horton

Vanderbilt University

David E. Lewis

Vanderbilt University - Department of Political Science; Vanderbilt University - Law School

Abstract

To what extent do presidents select appointees based upon campaign experience and connections? The answer to this question has important implications for our understanding of presidential management and political leadership. This paper presents a theory explaining where presidents place different types of appointees and why, focusing on differences in ideology, competence, and non-policy patronage benefits among potential appointees. We develop a formal model and test its implications with new data on 1,307 persons appointed in the first six months of the Obama Administration. The empirical results broadly support the theory, suggesting that President Obama was more likely to place appointees selected for nonpolicy patronage reasons in agencies off his agenda, in agencies that shared his policy views, and where appointees are least able to affect agency performance. We conclude that patronage continues to play an important role in American politics with important consequences for campaigns, presidential politics, and governance.

Keywords: president, appointment, patronage, agency, appointee

JEL Classification: D7, D70, D73

Suggested Citation

Hollibaugh, Gary and Horton, Gabriel and Lewis, David E., Presidents and Patronage. American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 58, Issue 4, pp. 1024-1042, 2014, Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 14-9, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2406471

Gary Hollibaugh (Contact Author)

University of Notre Dame - Department of Political Science ( email )

2060 Jenkins Nanovic Halls
Notre Dame, IN 46556
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.garyhollibaugh.com

Gabriel Horton

Vanderbilt University ( email )

2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240
United States

David E. Lewis

Vanderbilt University - Department of Political Science ( email )

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Nashville, TN 37235-1817
United States
615-322-6222 (Phone)

Vanderbilt University - Law School

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