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Measuring Behavioral Attributes for Federal Agencies Across Time

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Published on Mar 7, 2012

Behavioral attributes are observed manifestations of cognitive or emotive constructs. Aggregates of such attributes are often used at the organizational level in public management research. Difficulties in measuring attributes over time and across organizations have frequently limited statistical designs to single organization and/or single time-period analyses. Focusing our attention on U.S. federal administrative agencies, we marshal a variety of questions from surveys commissioned by the Office of Person- nel Management and Merit Systems Protection Board and em- ploy statistical models to measure three important behavioral attributes — perceived discretion, job satisfaction, and intrinsic motivation — for 71 agencies between 1998-2010. As an example of their usefulness to researchers, we test whether our measures shape assessments of institutional design in the Pro- gram Assessment.

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