The Effect of New Political Administration on Federal Government Productivity and Employment

15 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 1996 Last revised: 15 Aug 2009

See all articles by Frank R. Lichtenberg

Frank R. Lichtenberg

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Date Written: June 1996

Abstract

There have been a number of econometric studies of the effect of changes in management and control on the productivity and employment of private,but not but not of public, enterprises. This paper examines the impact of changes in political administration on the productivity and employment of the entire executive branch of the U.S. government using data compiled under the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Federal Productivity Measurement Program. The estimates Measurement Program. The estimates indicate that the mean rate of productivity growth in the first year of administrations is 2.6 times as high as the mean growth in subsequent years. Also, employment growth is strictly increasing with respect to the administration's tenure: 95% of federal employment growth during the period 1967-94 occurred in the fourth or later years of political administrations, although administrations were that old only 36% of the time. These findings are broadly consistent with evidence about the private sector. They suggest that the inauguration of a new administration initially purges the executive branch, but as an administration's tenure increases, fat and inefficiency tend to accumulate.

Suggested Citation

Lichtenberg, Frank R., The Effect of New Political Administration on Federal Government Productivity and Employment (June 1996). NBER Working Paper No. w5601, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3351

Frank R. Lichtenberg (Contact Author)

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