The Politics of Agency Death: Ministers and the Survival of Government Agencies in a Parliamentary System

49 Pages Posted: 3 May 2014

See all articles by Oliver James

Oliver James

University of Exeter - Department of Politics

Nicolai Petrovsky

University of Kentucky - James W. Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Alice Moseley

University of Exeter

George Boyne

Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School

Date Written: May 1, 2014

Abstract

We extend the theory of government agency survival from separation of powers to parliamentary government systems. We suggest that agencies are at increased risk following a transition in government, prime minister, or departmental minister and in cases where the actors in the political executive overseeing an agency are different to those establishing it. We evaluate these expectations using survival models with a dataset of all UK executive agencies from 1989 to 2012. The findings show that ministers seek to make their mark through terminating agencies created by previous ministers, which is reinforced by high media attention to the agency. However, there is no evidence that performance against agency performance targets is associated with termination, and agencies replacing terminated agencies do not demonstrate higher performance than those they replace. Financial autonomy provides some protection for agencies with those raising their own funds being at less at risk of termination than agencies fully dependent on appropriations.

Keywords: agency survival, agency termination, organizational survival, organizational termination

JEL Classification: H11, H83, H89

Suggested Citation

James, Oliver and Petrovsky, Nicolai and Moseley, Alice and Boyne, George, The Politics of Agency Death: Ministers and the Survival of Government Agencies in a Parliamentary System (May 1, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2431725 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2431725

Oliver James

University of Exeter - Department of Politics ( email )

Northcote House
The Queen's Drive
Exeter, Devon EX4 4QJ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.huss.ex.ac.uk/politics/staff/james/index.php

Nicolai Petrovsky (Contact Author)

University of Kentucky - James W. Martin School of Public Policy and Administration ( email )

Lexington, KY 40506
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.petrovsky.ws/

Alice Moseley

University of Exeter ( email )

Northcote House
The Queen's Drive
Exeter, Devon EX4 4QJ
United Kingdom

George Boyne

Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School ( email )

Aberconway Building
Colum Drive
Cardiff, CF10 3EU
United Kingdom
+ 44 (0) 29 20 875572 (Phone)
+ 44 (0)29 20874419 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cf.ac.uk/carbs/hrm/boyne.html

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