American Review of Public Administration, The

Sage Publications, Inc.
Publication date:

Latest documents

  • Book Review: Failure to Disrupt: Why Technology Alone Can't Transform Education by Reich, J.
  • Symbolic Representation, Expectancy Disconfirmation, and Citizen Complaints Against Police

    The theory of symbolic representation expects that citizens will view the actions of government as more legitimate when administrators share their characteristics. Although there is support for this assertion in some service areas, the evidence in policing is mixed. We draw on Expectancy Disconfirmation Theory to develop the expectation that policing is an area where we may be unlikely to see a positive relationship between representation and positive citizen perceptions of government officials. We test this expectation in an individual-level analysis of citizen complaints against police from four American cities between 2014 and 2017. The results suggest that, all else equal, complaints against Black officers are as or more likely to be filed by Black citizens than by citizens of other races. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of these results for both the study of representative bureaucracy and for the management of police citizen interactions.

  • Book Review: Phantoms of a beleaguered republic: The deep state and the unitary executive by Skowronek, S., Dearborn, J. A., & King, D
  • Government Employees’ Experience and Expectation of COVID-19 Hardships: The Moderating Role of Gender and Race in the United States

    This article examines government employees’ experience and expectation of socioeconomic hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic—employment income loss, housing instability, and food insufficiency—by focusing on the role of gender and race. Employing the Household Pulse Survey, a nationally representative and near real-time pandemic data deployed by the U.S. Census Bureau, we find that government employees were less affected by the pandemic than non-government employees across socioeconomic hardships. However, female and racial minorities, when investigated within government employees, have a worse experience and expectation of pandemic hardships than men and non-Hispanic Whites. Our findings suggest a clear gender gap and racial disparities in the experience and expectation of pandemic hardships.

  • Walking the Talk of Social Equity? Street-Level Bureaucrats’ Decisionmaking About the Provision of Personal Resources

    While public administration scholars argue that core values of social equity are exceedingly important in service provision, less is known of how these values are practised on the frontline in the contemporary public administration. Research points to a dual trend: together with practices aimed at increasing clients’ wellbeing, public service workers’ decisions about allocating public resources are guided by moral perceptions of worthiness, leaving behind the most weakened populations. The current study aims to decipher this duality, analyzing street-level bureaucrats’ decisionmaking about providing personal resources to low-income clients, in order to examine whether the pursuit of social equity is manifested in informal practices. Drawing on indepth qualitative interviews of social service providers in Israel, we found that decisionmaking about personal resource provision is grounded in two distinct sets of values. Alongside a pattern of providing resources to deserving clients, street-level bureaucrats also provide them to clients typically considered undeserving. These latter practices are aimed at decreasing social inequality, demonstrating that social service providers often walk the talk of social equity.

  • Communicating Reform: Testing an Apology for Police History as a Supplement to a Policy Communication

    Policing in the United States has a racist history, with negative implications for its legitimacy among African Americans today. Legitimacy is important for policing's effective operations. Community policing may improve policing's legitimacy but is difficult to implement with fidelity and does not address history. An apology for policing's racist history may work as a legitimizing supplement to community policing. On the other hand, an apology may be interpreted as words without changes in practices. Using a survey vignette experiment on Amazon's Mechanical Turk to sample African Americans, this research tests the legitimizing effect of a supplemental apology for historical police racism during a community policing policy announcement. Statistical findings suggest that supplementing the communication with an apology imparted little to no additional legitimacy on policing among respondents. Qualitative data suggested a rationale: Apologies need not indicate future equitable behavior or policy implementation, with implementation itself seeming crucial for police legitimacy improvements.

  • Money Matters: Sector Differences, Competition, and the Public Personnel System

    This study explores whether public personnel systems, particularly their compensation systems, are flexible and responsive to market wages in a competitive labor market. Focusing on registered nurses, we explore whether and how the public, private nonprofit, and for-profit labor markets influence each other in determining wages. We also examine if sector plays a role in determining wages. We use American Community Survey data from 2016 and 2017 to test these expectations. Fixed effects regressions and seemingly unrelated regressions with Chow tests reveal that higher wages in the dominant for-profit sector appear to drive up wages in the other two sectors, and vice versa. The results imply that public personnel systems are not so rigid and inflexible as perceived. Rather, they are sensitive to supply and demand and offer wages responding to competition from other sectors. Moreover, public employees do not ignore competitive opportunities in alternative employment markets in the private sectors. Students of public employment should not overlook the private sectors either. The markets are distinctive but not independent.

  • Inside the Push for Good Governance: Institutional Predictors of Administrative Transparency in Public Organizations

    Policy actors around the world perceive transparency as a means to achieve good governance. Research often focuses on the determinants of fiscal and economic transparency and gives less attention to administrative transparency. This study examines whether multiple types of institutional factors influence administrative transparency in the context of the hiring of college and university presidents in U.S. postsecondary education. Across 54 contracts obtained between institutions of higher education and third-party search firms, no contract explicitly referred to the term transparency, but contracts varied in attention given to issues of confidentiality. Using data for 157 presidential searches between 2010 and 2018, we find that few structural components predict indicators of transparency, though the presence of state sunshine laws and whether a governing board oversees multiple institutions can influence specific portions of the executive search process.

  • By the Letter of Law? The Effects of Administrative Adjudication for Resolving Disputes in NYC’s Restaurant Grading Initiative

    Administrative adjudication can serve as a quasi-judicial forum for resolving disputes resulting from government regulations. New York City recently required restaurants to post letter grades reflecting their compliance with food safety regulations and incorporated an easily accessible administrative adjudication system into its policy design. This study examines the implementation of this feature of the policy by using a regression discontinuity framework to explore the effects of the grading policy on adjudication processes and regulatory outcomes. Quantitative data included 222,527 food safety inspection records (2007–2014); qualitative data included interviews, observations, and document review. Restaurants were more likely to have violations reduced and grades improved at adjudication when grades were at stake. Moreover, adjudication outcomes were highly sensitive to score differences near grade cut-points. Professional representatives helped restaurants to negotiate the interpretation of rules in the quasi-judicial proceedings, softening rigidity of regulations. Representatives’ expertise was consistent with being “repeat players,” which may distort the use of such forums to ensure justice and fairness. This study illuminates the ramifications of including alternative dispute resolution systems in the implementation of regulatory policies.

  • Symbolic Representation, Cooperation, and Undocumented Immigrants: The Role of Representation in Improving Assessments of Cooperative Behaviors in Education

    This article explores how symbolic representation can increase behaviors associated with cooperation among immigrants in an educational setting. It posits that, due to a lack of trust and efficacy in public institutions, undocumented immigrants are less likely to engage in activities that are conducive to cooperation and compliance. However, this relationship is conditional on the presence of passive representation. In settings where immigrant interests are represented, even passively, immigrants are more likely to engage in cooperative behaviors. Using data from Texas school districts, the analysis finds some support that passive representation can enhance symbolic representation among this population. It finds that assessments of immigrants’ cooperative behaviors are likely to decrease as the size of the undocumented student population increases. However, this is only the case in schools with low levels of representation. This supports the expectation that symbolic representation can enhance assessments of cooperative behaviors among undocumented immigrants.

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