Abstract

In this paper we evaluate the relationship between political control and bureaucratic performance using information requested by researchers via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and congress via congressional committee requests. The information requested was the same, and the timing of requests was similar. We find a relationship between agency politicization and a lack of responsiveness to requests for information from the public and Congress. Politicized agencies are slower to respond to requests even when controlling for agency size and workload. There is little evidence, however, that these agencies are more likely to respond poorly when they do respond. The difficulties in responding appear to be due to poor performance of the FOIA offices, either because political actors focus more on other agency activities or because of poorer management agency-wide, rather than intentional efforts to hide information or delay due to extra review. We conclude that efforts to make agencies responsive to elected officials may hurt management performance.

Disciplines

Law | Law and Politics

Date of this Version

10-13-2015

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