David E. Lewis

Vanderbilt University
333 Commons Center
Nashville, TN 37203-5721

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Vanderbilt University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 2016Public Sector Personnel Economics: Wages, Promotions, and the Competence-Control Trade-off
with Charles M. Cameron, John M. de Figueiredo: w22966
We model personnel policies in public agencies, examining how wages and promotion standards can partially offset a fundamental contracting problem: the inability of public sector workers to contract on performance, and the inability of political masters to contract on forbearance from meddling. Despite the dual contracting problem, properly constructed personnel policies can encourage intrinsically motivated public sector employees to invest in expertise, seek promotion, remain in the public sector, and develop policy projects. However, doing so requires internal personnel policies that sort "slackers" from "zealots." Personnel policies that accomplish this task are quite different in agencies where acquired expertise has little value in the private sector, and agencies where acquired expe...
Elections, Ideology, and Turnover in the U.S. Federal Government
with Alexander Bolton, John M. de Figueiredo: w22932
A defining feature of public sector employment is the regular change in elected leadership. Yet, we know little about how elections influence careers. We describe how elections can alter policy outputs and disrupt civil servants’ influence over agency decisions, potentially shaping their career choices. We use new data on federal career records between 1988 and 2011 to evaluate how elections influence turnover decisions. We find large levels of stability in the civil service but also pockets of employees that are responsive to presidential transitions. Senior career employees in agencies with views divergent from the president’s appear most affected. In the first three years of an administration, political factors such as elections, policy priorities, and political ideological differences,...

Published: Alexander Bolton & John M. De Figueiredo & David Lewis, 2018. "Elections, Ideology, and Turnover in the U.S. Federal Government," Academy of Management Proceedings, vol 2018(1).

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