PEPE Seminar - Hye Young You (Princeton)
Title: Bureaucrats in Congress: Strategic Information Sharing in Policymaking
Abstract: Given bureaucratic expertise and the critical role of information in policy production, what drives information sharing between bureaucrats and legislators? We argue that partisan alignment between the two drive the amount and type of information that bureaucrats choose to share with Congress. Using the most comprehensive data yet on agency affiliation, appointment type, and agency-level characteristics of each bureaucrat who testified in Congress from 1977-2014, as well as a new measure of informational content present in bureaucratic testimonies, we show that bureaucrats provide less analytical information under divided government. Further, we examine bureaucrat-legislator pair-level interactions in committee hearings and show that bureaucrats provide less analytical information to legislators who are presidential out-partisans than legislators who are presidential co-partisans even after controlling for legislators’ questioning styles, and that this behavior is heightened among bureaucrats who are political appointees. These dynamics highlight bureaucrats’ strategic incentives to selectively share information with Congress.