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Title: Essays on Political Institutions
Authors: Gibbs, Daniel Austin
Advisors: Cameron, Charles M.
McCarty, Nolan M.
Contributors: Politics Department
Subjects: Political science
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: In this collection of three essays, I develop formal theoretical models to study policymaking in legislatures and policy implementation by bureaucracies. In the first essay, ``Individual Accountability, Collective Decision-making," I examine the conditions under which politicians select policies that achieve policy outcomes that citizens value despite electoral incentives to choose popular policies that citizens incorrectly believe will lead to valued outcomes. I find that these perverse incentives become weaker as the number of politicians involved in policymaking increases. In larger groups, politicians share more responsibility for their policy choices. Individual politicians therefore have less to gain electorally from manipulating policy. In the second and third essays, I study how personnel management practices influence the capacity of bureaucracies to effectively implement the policies that politicians select. In ``Civil Service Reform, Self-Selection, and Bureaucratic Performance," I study how civil service protections against employment termination affect bureaucratic capacity by influencing the personnel composition of public agencies. I find that robust civil service protections create incentives for intrinsically motivated job candidates to choose careers in government but at the cost of making unmotivated bureaucrats difficult to remove. This paper is published in "Economics & Politics," Volume 32, Issue 2. In ``Selection Rates and Bureaucratic Performance," I analyze a personnel policy used in a number of U.S. government agencies in which only a previously specified percentage of bureaucrats in a cohort are retained after a fixed period. I identify conditions under which this policy enables public managers to identify the best candidates for retention at a lower cost than alternative screening mechanisms. This paper is published in "Economics of Governance," Volume 20, Issue 2.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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