While a number of scholars have examined citizens' satisfaction with specific encounters with government agencies, few studies have assessed explanations of the public's overall evaluations of bureaucratic performance, especially accounts that address sources of variation over time. We address this gap with a new annual time series measure of aggregate assessments of the US federal bureaucracy. We find that public approval of bureaucratic performance varies markedly over time. We then test a number of prior explanations for this movement focusing on both broad contextual forces in the political environment and more specific variables more closely associated with the federal bureaucracy. While data limitations preclude developing a fully specified model tapping all of the explanations simultaneously, we are able to rule out a wide range of 'usual suspects' as free standing or sufficient accounts of variations in aggregate bureaucratic approval over time. But we also isolate a number of promising explanations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Management Information Systems
- Management of Technology and Innovation