Policy Influence, Agency-Specific Expertise, and Exit in the Federal Service

Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Volume 23, Issue 2, 1 April 2013, Pages 223–245

36 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2017

See all articles by Anthony M. Bertelli

Anthony M. Bertelli

New York University - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service; Bocconi University - DONDENA - Carlo F. Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics

David E. Lewis

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

Date Written: October 29, 2012

Abstract

Executive turnover influences agency performance, policy implementation and ultimately the success of legislative delegations. We argue that turnover intention is a function of labor market opportunities – specifically, outside employment opportunities and the acquisition of non-transferable, agency-specific human capital – as well as perceptions about the way in which political decisions have impacted federal executive influence over policymaking. Statistical evidence for these claims is provided using data from the 2007-2008 Survey on the Future of Government Service, the largest ever survey of U.S. federal executives. Agency- specific human capital drives down turnover intention in our estimates. The availability of outside options has the opposite effect except in cases where the executive has invested a lot in agency-specific human capital. Turnover intention increases when an agency’s senior executives have little influence over policy. We draw out the implications of these findings for our understanding of federal labor markets, the construction of civil service systems, and the politicization of executive branch agencies.

Keywords: bureaucratic politics, turnover intention, administrative agencies, separation of powers, public administration

JEL Classification: H11, H83

Suggested Citation

Bertelli, Anthony M. and Lewis, David E., Policy Influence, Agency-Specific Expertise, and Exit in the Federal Service (October 29, 2012). Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Volume 23, Issue 2, 1 April 2013, Pages 223–245. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3014222

Anthony M. Bertelli (Contact Author)

New York University - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service ( email )

The Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street, Second Floor
New York, NY 10012
United States

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

Via Roentgen 1
Milan, 20136
Italy

David E. Lewis

Vanderbilt University - Department of Political Science ( email )

VU Station B #351817
Nashville, TN 37235-1817
United States
615-322-6222 (Phone)

Vanderbilt University - Law School

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
4
Abstract Views
36
PlumX Metrics