Tipping the Scales: The Causes and Consequences of Administrative Spending

Public administration literature once devoted distinct effort to identifying the determinants of administrative intensity in organizations. While this literature has received some renewed attention, there remain questions about what aspects of organizational environments generate growth in administrative intensity, particularly as related to political oversight and external accountability mechanisms. This paper aims to expand current theory on the determinants of administrative personnel and costs using data on four-year public universities in the United States from 1998-2011, as this setting has received considerable criticism for perceived administrative bloat. Findings suggest that which political party is in control substantially influences both administrative costs and total personnel. These administrative levels, in turn, have a curvilinear relationship with student outcomes.

Publication Date:
Dec 10 2018
Date Submitted:
Jul 10 2019
Public Administration

Note: The file is under embargo until: 2020-12-31

 Record created 2019-07-10, last modified 2019-07-12

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