Politics and Information Technology Investments in the U.S. Federal Government in 2003-2016
Posted: 20 Dec 2014 Last revised: 10 Jun 2019
Date Written: July 19, 2016
Information technologies (IT) act as an enabler for policy implementation in the U.S. federal government. While federal agencies increasingly rely on advanced digital technologies to execute new policy initiatives, many agencies are struggling with maintaining decades-old legacy systems. This study investigates how the national politics affects IT investment profiles in U.S. federal agencies. Drawing upon a range of literature from the political science, public administration, and information systems (IS) disciplines, we hypothesize that a federal agency’s capacity-building IT investments are associated with (i) legislative approval for the chief executive, (ii) government dividedness, and (iii) the agency’s ideological characteristic. With a panel dataset from 135 federal agencies and bureaus in 2003-2016, our empirical analyses produce several intriguing findings. For instance, when both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives are controlled by the President’s ruling party, federal agencies are predicted to invest approximately 8.32% more in new IT development and modernization than when the opposition party holds the majority in both chambers. We contribute to the IS literature by demonstrating that budget allocation decisions between IT development and maintenance in governments are affected by political environments. We offer several policy prescriptions in IT management for policymakers and practitioners in the public sector.
Keywords: IT Investments, Politics, U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Congress
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