The Missing Element: Examining the Loyalty-Competence Nexus in Presidential Appointments

Yu Ouyang, Evan T. Haglund, Richard W. Waterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

What distinguishes a loyal appointee from a competent one? Applying novel methodological tools to a unique data set of 3,366 resumes of individuals appointed by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama across 51 different federal institutions, we (1) provide an operational definition of loyalty and competence and (2) demonstrate that there are subdimensions of loyalty and competence. We also provide initial insights into how George W. Bush and Barack Obama employed the various subdimensions of competence and loyalty. Our most important contribution is to provide the missing element in principal–agent models and presidential appointment power, by identifying the background characteristics and subdimensions of loyalty and competence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-91
Number of pages30
JournalPresidential Studies Quarterly
Volume47
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.

Keywords

  • competence
  • loyalty
  • presidential appointments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

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