The Administrative Presidency and the Degradation of the United States Civil Service through Political Time
33 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2020
Date Written: June 16, 2020
The study of the administrative presidency is one that more obviously, though not uniquely, overlaps the research interests of both self-identifying public management and political science scholars. How a president’s managerial strategies are applied has profound implications on how one thinks about the role of federal public administrators in the United States’ polity and constitutional design. However, those strategies are not merely a function of the preferences and agency of a given president or presidential administration. Time presents a critical, if overlooked, macro-level embeddedness attribute in which individual decisions and behavior are nested. The timing in which a president operates within a political epoch and his ideological positioning vis-à-vis the dominant ideology within that epoch will have a vast influence on the alternative sets that are allowed for that president, his proxies, and career bureaucrats to consider. In this essay, I seek to bridge this macro-perspective of public administration with the micro-level foundations of behavioralism by providing an example of how these secular, historical trends can produce observable and predictable patterns by which we can assess variation of executive and bureaucratic behaviors across temporal contexts.
Keywords: administrative presidency, managerial presidency, political time
JEL Classification: J45, J48
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation