The American Review of Public Administration (AM REV PUBLIC ADM )

Publisher: SAGE Publications


The American Review of Public Administration is a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the study of public affairs and public administration, featuring articles addressing rapidly emerging issues in public administration and public affairs. ARPA publishes articles which look beyond traditional boundaries of public administration, review or synthesize previous research in the field, and speculate and comment on current issues in public administration.

  • Impact factor
  • 5-year impact
  • Cited half-life
  • Immediacy index
  • Eigenfactor
  • Article influence
  • Website
    The American Review of Public Administration website
  • Other titles
    American review of public administration (Online), American review of public administration, ARPA
  • ISSN
  • OCLC
  • Material type
    Document, Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publisher details

SAGE Publications

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author cannot archive a post-print version
  • Restrictions
    • 12 months embargo
  • Conditions
    • On author website, repository and PubMed Central
    • On author's personal web site
    • Publisher copyright and source must be acknowledged
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • Post-print version with changes from referees comments can be used
    • "as published" final version with layout and copy-editing changes cannot be archived but can be used on secure institutional intranet
    • If funding agency rules apply, authors may use SAGE open to comply
  • Classification
    ​ yellow

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: It is commonly posited that for-profit, nonprofit, and other government vendors have fundamental differences, which make one or the other the superior choice depending on the circumstances of service delivery. Past research, focusing on service and market characteristics, finds support for this proposition. In this article, we investigate not only the typical theoretical expectations regarding vendor traits, service characteristics, and market conditions associated with the sectors, but also the presumed trustworthiness and management practices that are argued to differentiate them in an effort to better understand the roles played by each in local government contracting. Our findings indicate that as expected, nonprofits are most commonly employed when dealing with hard to define, “soft” services with weak markets. However, contrary to expectations, nonprofits are not generally considered more trustworthy than for-profits and are not managed more “loosely” (i.e., more ambiguous contracts, more discretion exercised in sanctioning) than their for-profit peers. Rather, public vendors seem to be the most trusted and are managed less rigidly than contractors from the other sectors.
    The American Review of Public Administration 11/2013; 43(6):709-728.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: According to a popular belief, private participation in infrastructure service improves overall service efficiency. However, empirical evidence is mixed. In particular, private participation likely creates a potential agency problem, which may adversely affect service efficiency. This implies that proper government regulations can control opportunistic misbehaviors of private participants and reduce their behavioral uncertainty. Therefore, the effects of private participation on the efficiency of the power service can be hypothesized to be positively augmented by the level of government regulations. We developed an empirical model based upon key institutional, political, and socio-economic variables. The results suggest that private participation is in fact negatively associated with the efficiency of the power service. However, the results also show that the overall effects of private participation on efficiency are positively augmented according to the level of government regulations.
    The American Review of Public Administration 11/2013; 43(6):674-689.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Following the conceptual framework developed by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, which is based on three broad dimensions of sustainability, flexibility and vulnerability, this paper proposes a method for evaluating the financial health of municipalities. This methodology could be useful for performance assessment in any country and framework. An aggregate indicator has been obtained for each municipality that covers all the aspects analyzed. For this, multivariate statistical techniques of principal component analysis and discriminant analysis are combined. The proposed method overcomes the problem that we detected in the literature related to the weighting of variables, optimizing the measurement of the variability of all indicators that are included in the financial condition. The indicator evaluates and ranks the degree of financial health of each municipality and serves as a tool to study how different factors might have an impact on its financial health. The performance of the indicator has been contrasted with the socioeconomic variables of population size and geographic location. The proposed method has been applied to 5,165 Spanish municipalities.
    The American Review of Public Administration 11/2013; 43(6):729-751.
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    ABSTRACT: Although traditional models of bureaucratic politics have relied on the old assumption that information is expensive, information is prevalent nowadays; the monopoly of bureaucratic expertise has been undermined as interest groups have significantly developed and are professionalized. As a result, what is really important in current bureaucratic politics is not just neutral expertise, but the political capacity to affect the behaviors of information sources. Through mediating conflicts of interest and minimizing unnecessary contingencies, agencies can persuade their stakeholders not to provide information to legislators and, therefore, indirectly affect legislators’ decisions on delegation and oversight. Different from traditional principal–agent theories, this article suggests the “administrative broker” model in which politically influential agencies can block information leakage to legislators and enhance their own discretion. Moreover, the administrative brokers occasionally transform traditionally hostile principal–agent relations into more favorable ones.
    The American Review of Public Administration 11/2013; 43(6):690-708.
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    ABSTRACT: This article examines the intellectually and pragmatic challenges posed by the economic crisis of 2008 on public administration and public policy. It will be argued that we need to confront 5 major challenges that will,hopefully, provoke a more lively debate in the field about the substantive implications of this economic crisis. While these 5 challenges are hardly exhaustive, such challenges may force us to ask different questions that could elevate and enrich the intellectual enterprise we aspire to be.
    The American Review of Public Administration 11/2013; 43(6):627-655.
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    ABSTRACT: With the implementation of recent accounting standards (GASB 43 and 45), local governments began reporting their liabilities and funding levels for postemployment benefits other than pensions—so-called OPEBs. In this article we pose three questions: (a) What factors affect the size of a government’s OPEB liability? (b) How did the OPEB standards affect the way governments manage their OPEB plans? and (c) What factors explain government responds to the OPEB standards? We draw data directly from audited financial reports in Florida counties and cities to examine those questions. Our results suggest that benefit policies, personnel characteristics, and actuarial cost methods are the most influential factors in determining a size of a government’s OPEB liability. Our results also provide evidence that many governments responded to the OPEB standards by reducing their benefits and changing their funding approaches. We show preliminary evidence of differences in governments that changed their policies or funding approaches with those that continued the status quo.
    The American Review of Public Administration 09/2013; 43(5):558-580.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The purpose of the current study was to investigate how perceptions of organizational fairness may facilitate positive outcomes and prevent negative consequences in government organizations. In that effort, this study examined relationship between perceived organizational fairness and organizational identification, job involvement and turnover intention with data collected through an organizational survey from 764 professional employees working in 65 geographically distributed offices in an agency in state government. The findings indicated that perceptions of procedural and distributive fairness have positive effects on professional employees’ job involvement and negative influences on their turnover intention, though these effects are mediated by their organizational identification. Implications of these findings for public management theory and practice are discussed.
    The American Review of Public Administration 09/2013; 43(5):539-557.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Public service motivation (PSM) research has demonstrated the association of PSM with interest in government and nonprofit careers. Perry’s PSM instrument also sheds light upon a less studied aspect of career interest among college students—the perception that the nonprofit sector, and not government, provides the better outlet for altruistic values. The author argues that given the lack of confidence in government and negative perceptions toward government work, only the attraction to policy making dimension predicts interest in government careers. In contrast, commitment to public interest, compassion, and self-sacrifice should explain student interest in nonprofits as well as teaching—both fields of work students see as more directly helping and serving people. Analyses of data from an Internet-based survey of 529 upper-division students at two upper-Midwest universities confirm this “divide” between the rational and normative/affective dimensions of PSM and suggest that confidence in institutions should be incorporated in PSM research.
    The American Review of Public Administration 07/2013; 43(4):416-437.
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    ABSTRACT: This qualitative analysis examines state legislation that discloses public employee salary information. It asks, “Is such legislation ethical?” To address this question, an approach—the “ethics triangle”—is used that encompasses results-based utilitarian ethics, rule-based duty ethics, and virtue-based character ethics. The study begins with the importance of the problem, followed by its evolution and current status. After describing the method of study, the article analyzes arguments for and against the ethics of salary disclosure using the ethics triangle. Although there are no easy answers, the Discussion section provides a synthesis of the findings. The concluding section suggests that open compensation systems encourage justifiable salary decisions and help personnel to better understand agency missions and why they earn what they do whereas a closed pay system can compromise the greatest good, duty, and integrity. Yet disclosure requirements applied across the board to all employees, with no distinction regarding the nature of the work or position involved, disregards important factors that deserve consideration. Alternative ways to disclose salary data without revealing individual identities and directions for future research are offered.
    The American Review of Public Administration 07/2013; 43(4):476-492.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Published 30 years ago, my article on “Public Administrative Theory and the Separation of Powers” introduced what is often called the “three perspectives” approach or framework for understanding public administration at a macro-level by viewing it through the lenses of management, politics, and law. Each of these perspectives is anchored in a function of government—execution, legislation, and adjudication respectively—which at the U.S. federal level is housed primarily in the institutional structures of the executive branch, Congress, and the courts. The article has been reprinted several times in edited works and widely cited while the textbook elaborating on it, Public Administration: Understanding Management, Politics, and Law in the Public Sector (1st ed., 1986), has gained widespread adoption. The present article reflects on what the three perspectives framework did, did not do, and whether it is useful in application to the vast changes in public administrative thought and practice that have occurred since its publication. Specifically addressed are whether the framework retains utility in the wake of reinventing government and the advent of collaborative governance as well as how it might be strengthened to inventory and cumulate public administrative knowledge in the future.
    The American Review of Public Administration 07/2013; 43(4):381-396.
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    ABSTRACT: Although much has been written about interlocal agreements for the delivery of services, few studies have examined the factors that influence the establishment of different types of multilateral agreements (MLAs). To address this lacuna, the authors draw a distinction between an adaptive and restrictive MLA and seek to understand why local governments enter into one type of arrangement over the other. The authors build our theoretical argument on the basis of previous research that suggests agreements are designed to minimize the uncertainties associated with transaction risk. On the basis of this premise, the author’s general proposition is that the decision to establish an adaptive MLA is shaped by the asset specificity and measurability of the goods and services of the transaction. The authors utilize data on public safety agreements among municipal and county governments in the state of Florida. Findings suggest that local governments are more likely to form an adaptive MLA when goods and services are relatively high in service measurability difficulty and when both high and low asset specificity exit.
    The American Review of Public Administration 07/2013; 43(4):460-475.
  • The American Review of Public Administration 07/2013; 43(4):438-459.
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    ABSTRACT: Do agency officials hold influence over the policy decisions made by state legislators and governors? For years, scholars have asserted the important informational role that bureaucrats play within the U.S. policy-making process. However, we have only limited knowledge of the theoretical mechanisms that may allow for this influence, or ultimately, whether this influence matters to public policy outcomes. We theorize that the political oversight of the bureaucracy by elected officials not only constrains the bureaucracy but also provides a pathway for agency officials to advance their preferences by communicating their policy expertise. We assess this argument with survey data from almost 600 state agency heads, drawn from the 50 states and across all agency types. Using a multilevel model, we find that the “oversight mechanism” is a key driver of agency influence over gubernatorial policy decisions; however, it does a poor job explaining agency policy influence within state legislatures. These results suggest that oversight allows agency leaders greater success in lobbying governors than more diffuse and diverse state legislatures.
    The American Review of Public Administration 05/2013; 43(3):273-291.
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    ABSTRACT: Studies in public management show that agencies draw different types of support from different actors and organizations in their environment. If this is true, we would expect that managers differentiate their networking activity toward different types of external actors and organizations. However, empirical studies of the networking activities of managers do not reveal such a differentiation: these studies consistently report the existence of only one factor of managerial networking activity. The present article aims to solve this puzzle by disaggregating managerial networking into multiple scales of managerial networking activity, each related to a specific type of support from the agency’s environment. A cumulative scaling analysis of the network ties of Texas school district superintendents for the years 2002 and 2005 shows the existence of three such stable and homogeneous networking scales, respectively, providing (a) political support, (b) bureaucratic coping, and (c) coproduction. We compare these results with those of the method used in previous studies: factor analysis. We illustrate the potential of cumulative scaling for the analysis of managerial networking by comparing the effect of the managerial networking factor with those of the three networking scales on the pass rates of Latino students on the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications for our understanding of managerial networking.
    The American Review of Public Administration 05/2013; 43(3):251-272.