An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2005 annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association. We thank Stuart Bretschneider, Gregory Huber, Herbert Kaufman, and the anonymous AJPS reviewers for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript. Any errors that remain are the sole responsibility of the authors.
Political Appointments, Civil Service Systems, and Bureaucratic Competence: Organizational Balancing and Executive Branch Revenue Forecasts in the American States
Article first published online: 21 JUN 2006
American Journal of Political Science
Volume 50, Issue 3, pages 770–787, July 2006
How to Cite
Krause, G. A., Lewis, D. E. and Douglas, J. W. (2006), Political Appointments, Civil Service Systems, and Bureaucratic Competence: Organizational Balancing and Executive Branch Revenue Forecasts in the American States. American Journal of Political Science, 50: 770–787. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2006.00215.x
- Issue published online: 21 JUN 2006
- Article first published online: 21 JUN 2006
Scholarship on executive politics provides conflicting views about whether staffing administrative agencies through politicized or (politically) autonomous means is the best method for maximizing bureaucratic competence. We offer a theoretical account which maintains that obtaining a proper balance between both types of personnel systems across the supervisory and subordinate levels of an organization will best foster bureaucratic competence. We evaluate our organizational balancing thesis using data on executive branch general revenue fund forecasts in the American states from 1987 to 2002. States with a combination of politically appointed agency executives and merit-selected subordinates generally provide more accurate revenue forecasts than states that possess uniformly politicized personnel selection systems. Conversely, states with a combination of department head–appointed executives and subordinates chosen from an at-will system (i.e., nonmerit) produce more accurate forecasts than states with uniformly autonomous personnel selection systems. Our statistical findings underscore the positive consequences associated with balancing politicized and autonomous means of selecting personnel within hierarchies of political organizations.