Does Pendleton's Premise Hold in New and Old Democracies Alike? Politicization and Performance in the U.S. and Central and Eastern Europe

Marius Constantin PROFIROIU, Nicolai PETROVSKY, Edward T. JENNINGS, Jr.


Merit-based career civil services are grounded in the idea that government will serve citizens best if its officials are hired based on their human capital and promoted based on their competence, instead of their ties to elected officials. Political appointees, on the other hand are appointed for many reasons other than managerial competence. Agency executives appointed from within a merit system are expected to outperform short-term political appointees, who lack their expertise, experience, and public management skills. Lewis (2007) provides evidence to support this idea for U.S. federal programs. Our ex ante theoretical expectation is that politicization is also negatively related to agency performance in other political systems. Yet there is no systematic empirical evidence whether this is holds for young democracies, where executive experience might mean experience in the ways of the old authoritarian regime. We therefore conduct the first comparative study of this topic, looking at the U.S., Romania, Poland, and Hungary.


politicization; government performance; PART; absorption rate.

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