Quitting in Protest: Presidential Policymaking and Civil Service Response

58 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2020

See all articles by Charles M. Cameron

Charles M. Cameron

Princeton University - Department of Political Science; Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

John M. de Figueiredo

Duke University School of Law; Duke University - Fuqua School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 29, 2020

Abstract

We formally model the impact of presidential policymaking on the willingness of bureaucrats to exert effort and stay in the government. In the model, centralized policy initiative by the president demotivates policy-oriented bureaucrats and can impel them to quit rather than implicate themselves in presidentially imposed policies they dislike. Those most likely to quit are a range of moderate bureaucrats. More extreme bureaucrats may be willing to wait out an incumbent president in the hope of shaping future policy. As control of the White House alternates between ideologically opposed extreme presidents, policy-minded moderates depart from bureaucratic agencies leaving only policy extremists or poorly performing "slackers." The consequences for policy making are substantial. Despite these adverse consequences, presidents have strong incentives to engage in centralized policymaking.

Keywords: public sector personnel economics, bureaucrats, civil service

JEL Classification: J45, K00, H11,

Suggested Citation

Cameron, Charles M. and de Figueiredo, John M., Quitting in Protest: Presidential Policymaking and Civil Service Response (March 29, 2020). Duke Law School Public Law & Legal Theory Series No. 2020-17, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3563897 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3563897

Charles M. Cameron

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1013
United States

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

John M. De Figueiredo (Contact Author)

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative

215 Morris St., Suite 300
Durham, NC 27701
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