EITM and PA

New from Don Moynihan and Stephane Lavertu, now available on JPART Advance Access:

The Empirical Implications of Theoretical Models (EITM) initiative in political science aims to improve empirical inquiry by strengthening its theoretical foundations. We review the central features of the initiative, especially its emphasis on the development of empirically useful formal theory and the establishment of a direct link between theory and statistical estimation. We then illustrate the EITM method with an application to a public administration topic. Specifically, we develop a game-theoretic model of policy implementation in order to examine the role of leadership commitment to reform in a staff’s decision to use performance information. We then discuss some of the empirical implications of the theoretical model and examine a couple of them by analyzing data from a 2007 Government Accountability Office survey of federal agency managers. Consistent with the theoretical model, the statistical analysis reveals that leadership commitment is not positively related to performance information use when one focuses on low-to-moderate levels of commitment. We conclude with a discussion of our example and the potential benefits of using the EITM method in public administration research.

Ken Meier and I are editing a symposium at JPART that will include this among other papers. I’ll highlight those other contributions as they come to JPART’s Advance Access.