An Inquiry Into the Effects of Statutory Climate on the Political Attitudes and Behavior of State-Level Public Administrators
Snead, John David
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This dissertation examines ways in which differences in states' political activity laws affect the political attitudes and reported behavior of senior state government employees. Of particular concern is whether a stringent little Hatch Act engenders any "chilling effects" that may lead these workers to shy away from permissible political activities. The study included officials employed in Pennsylvania, which has a restrictive political activity statute, and New Jersey, which has generally permissive laws. Mail questionnaires were sent to 962 officials, 512 from Pennsylvania and 450 from New Jersey. Responses were received from 582 employees, yielding a 61.91% response rate. Compared to New Jersey officials, those from Pennsylvania were less knowledgeable about their state's political activity laws. The Pennsylvania employees also reported being less politically active and less satisfied with their activity, and were more likely to indicate that they would increase their level of political activity if state prohibitions were eliminated. However, compared to their New Jersey counterparts, these officials were no less inclined to engage in permissible political activities. This finding casts doubt on the notion that a highly restrictive statutory climate spawns chilling effects.
- Doctoral Dissertations