David E. Lewis / William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University

Last updated on profile page : November 22nd, 2012


David Lewis is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University. He currently serves as Associate Chair and co-director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt. His research interests include the presidency, executive branch politics and public administration. He is the author of two books and numerous articles and book chapters on American politics, public administration and management.

His first book, Presidents and the Politics of Agency Design (Stanford University Press, 2003), examines why elected officials design agencies to be insulated from political influence. His second book, The Politics of Presidential Appointments: Political Control and Bureaucratic Performance (Princeton University Press, 2008), analyzes the causes and consequences of presidential politicization of the executive branch. This book received the Herbert A. Simon Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association's Public Administration Section and the Richard E. Neustadt Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association's Presidency Research Section.

Before joining Vanderbilt's Department of Political Science, he was assistant professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University, where he was affiliated with the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics, from 2002-08. He began his academic career at the College of William and Mary, where he was an assistant professor in the Department of Government from 2000-02. He serves on the editorial board of Public Administration. He got a PhD at Stanford University.

By David E. Lewis on Paris Innovation Review

Mistakes politicians make

Society on January 25th, 2012

There are systematic reasons why elected officials make certain kinds of mistakes over and over. One thing political scientists have discovered by examining the political species is that it shares common characteristics picked up by adapting to its natural environment. One of the strongest motivating forces in this environment is the pressure for reelection. It is precisely this drive for reelection that introduces predictable biases into political decision-making and helps explain governments' paralysis in the face of some very serious problems.

Homo politicus et ses erreurs

Society on January 25th, 2012

En les observant de près, les politologues ont découvert que les hommes politiques forment une espèce à part, dont l'identité a été forgée au contact de leur environnement naturel. Or l'une des contraintes les plus fortes de cet environnement, c'est la nécessité d'être réélu. Cela les pousse à des erreurs inévitables qui expliquent, en partie, la paralysie des gouvernements lorsqu'ils sont confrontés à des problèmes graves.


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