Going for Goals: Presidential Appointments and Agency Goal Change

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With dozens of mandates, federal agencies have considerable discretion in how they focus their time and resources. In this article, I explain how presidents influence agency goals, focusing on how appointee teams are essential to prioritizing and resetting agency goals. Using original data on federal agency goals from the Obama administration to the Trump administration, my analysis of strategic and priority goals across 56 agencies reveals that agencies in which the president has a higher percentage of key appointed positions filled experienced higher levels of long-term goal change. This finding highlights the president's immediate need to get their appointee teams in place to alter the course of agency policymaking for their whole first term.




Piper, C. (2022). Going for Goals: Presidential Appointments and Agency Goal Change. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 52(1), 140–167. https://doi.org/10.1111/psq.12772

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