The Rebirth of Patronage: Have We Come Full Circle?

Mary Feeney, Gordon Kingsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Current trends in the U.S. political system threaten an increase in patronage and a return to the political problems of the 1800s. Modern-day patronage is strongly related to two popular efforts to reform government: the rollback of the civil service system and the privatization of government services. These reforms, aimed at reducing the negative outcomes of bureaucracy, have had the unfortunate outcome of eliminating policies designed to protect civil servants from patronage politics and thus of ultimately reducing democratic accountability. Whether the main cause is forgetfulness about the past or simply the application of misguided principles, the dismantling of the civil service and increasing reliance on private contractors can endanger public values and the ability to engage in a thoughtful debate about public values. Professionalism in government—including civil service, open competition for jobs and contracts, and merit systems—remains the most effective and just means for combating patronage and identifying talented, dedicated public servants and contractors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-176
Number of pages12
JournalPublic Integrity
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

clientelism
civil service
government reform
dismantling
civil servant
servants
bureaucracy
political system
privatization
Values
reform
responsibility
cause
politics
Rebirth
Patronage
ability
trend
Civil Service
Civil service

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law
  • Public Administration
  • Business and International Management
  • Philosophy

Cite this

The Rebirth of Patronage : Have We Come Full Circle? / Feeney, Mary; Kingsley, Gordon.

In: Public Integrity, Vol. 10, No. 2, 01.04.2008, p. 165-176.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Feeney, Mary ; Kingsley, Gordon. / The Rebirth of Patronage : Have We Come Full Circle?. In: Public Integrity. 2008 ; Vol. 10, No. 2. pp. 165-176.
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