Teodoro explains the systems that foster or frustrate entrepreneurship among public executives. Through case studies and quantitative analysis of original data, he shows how psychological motives and career opportunities shape administrators’ decisions, and he reveals the consequences these choices have for innovation and democratic governance. Tracing the career paths and political behavior of agency executives, Teodoro finds that, when advancement involves moving across agencies, ambitious bureaucrats have strong incentives for entrepreneurship. Where career advancement occurs vertically within a single organization, ambitious bureaucrats have less incentive for innovation, but perhaps greater accountability. This research introduces valuable empirical methods and has already generated additional studies.
A powerful argument for the art of the possible, Bureaucratic Ambition advances a flexible theory of politics and public administration. Its lessons will enrich debate among scholars and inform policymakers and career administrators.