The Politics of Agency Death: Ministers and the Survival of Government Agencies in a Parliamentary System

Oliver James, Nicolai Petrovsky, Alice Moseley, George A. Boyne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article extends the theory of government agency survival from separation of powers to parliamentary government systems. It evaluates expectations of increased risk to agencies following transitions in government, prime minister or departmental minister, and from incongruence between the originally establishing and currently overseeing political executive. Using survival models for UK executive agencies between 1989 and 2012, the study finds that politics trumps performance. Ministers seek to make their mark by terminating agencies created by previous ministers, which is reinforced by high media attention to the agency. Performance against agency targets is not associated with higher termination risk, and replacement agencies do not perform any better than those that were terminated. Financial autonomy provides some protection for agencies that are less dependent on budgetary appropriations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-784
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Volume46
Issue number4
Early online date20 Jan 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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