Seminar Series

| Leiden University

| 08/11/2021 h.12.45

What’s in a Name? The Politics of Name Changes Inside Bureaucracy

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Philippe Bezes (Sciences Po, Paris) 
Julia Fleischer (University of Potsdam

In this paper we examine the effects of political change on name changes of units within central government ministries. We expect that changes regarding the policy position of a government will cause changes in the names of ministerial units. To this end we formulate hypotheses combining the politics of structural choice and theories of portfolio allocation to examine the effects of political changes at the cabinet level on the names of intra-ministerial units. We constructed a dataset containing more than 17,000 observations on name changes of ministerial units between 1980 and 2013 from the central governments of Germany, The Netherlands, and France. We regress a series of generalized estimating equations (GEE) with population averaging models for binary outcomes. Finding variations across the three political-bureaucratic systems, we overall report positive effects of governmental change and ideological positions on name changes within ministries.


Kutsal Yesilkagit is a Professor of Public Administration at Leiden University. He is interested in a variety of topics that revolve around the relationship between politics and bureaucracy. He has published articles in various journals on the bureaucratic autonomy of agencies, independent regulatory authorities, transgovernmental networks, and bureaucratic politics. Yesilkagit is the co-editor of an edited volume on Democratic backsliding and public administration that recently was published with CUP. He served on the editorial boards of JPART and Public Administration. He is member of the IPSA executive committee of RC 27 on the Structure and Organization of Government.