AMERICAN POLITICS & PUBLIC POLICY WORKSHOP
Abstract: Most presidents come into office promising to ensure the effectiveness of the national government. Yet, outcomes fall short of expectations. In this paper, which is a small part of a larger book project, I explain why presidents neglect the overall health of the administrative state in pursuit of other goals. I describe how the president’s short term incentives to win reelection and secure policies they prefer override their interest in securing a healthy administrative state moving forward. I illustrate this empirically through an examination of presidential nominees for federal office during the last three presidencies.
David E. Lewis is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor in the Department of Political Science at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of two books and numerous articles on American politics, public administration, and management. His research has been featured in outlets such as the Harvard Business Review, New York Times, and Washington Post. Before joining Vanderbilt’s Department of Political Science, he was an assistant professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University and assistant professor of government at the College of William & Mary. He serves on the editorial boards of Presidential Studies Quarterly and Public Administration. He is a member of the National Academy of Public Administration.