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David E. Lewis

William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Political Science
Professor of Law

David E. Lewis’ research interests include the presidency, executive branch politics, and public administration. He is the author of two books, Presidents and the Politics of Agency Design (Stanford University Press, 2003) and The Politics of Presidential Appointments: Political Control and Bureaucratic Performance (Princeton University Press, 2008). He has also published numerous articles on American politics, public administration and management in journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, the British Journal of Political Science, Public Administration Review and Presidential Studies Quarterly. His work has been featured in outlets such as the Harvard Business Review, New York Times, and Washington Post. He is a member of the National Academy of Public Administration and has earned numerous research and teaching awards, including the Herbert Simon Award for contributions to the scientific study of the bureaucracy and the Madison Sarratt, Jeffrey Nordhaus, and Robert Birkby awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching.

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. 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 previously served as president of the Southern Political Science Association and president of the Midwest Public Administration Caucus. He serves on the editorial boards of Presidential Studies Quarterly and Public Administration.

Research Interests

American politics, public administration, administrative law


Representative Publications

  • “Deconstructing the Administrative State,” 81 Journal of Politics (forthcoming 2019)
  • Sourcebook of the United States Executive Agencies (with Jennifer Selin). Report for the Administrative Conference of the United States (2018)
  • “Elite Perceptions of Agency Ideology and Workforce Skill.” 80 Journal of Politics 303 (2018) (with Mark D. Richardson and Joshua D. Clinton)
  • “Political Control and the Forms of Agency Independence,” 83 George Washington Law Review 1487 (2015) (with Jennifer L. Selin)
  • “The Consequences of Presidential Patronage for Agency Performance,” 22 Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 219 (2012) (with Nick Gallo)
  • "Not-So-Independent Agencies: Party Polarization and the Limits of Institutional Design," 88(2) Boston University Law Review 459 (2008) (with Neal Devins)
  • The Politics of Presidential Appointments: Political Control and Bureaucratic Performance, Princeton University Press (2008) (Winner, Herbert A. Simon Best Book Award by Public Administration Section, American Political Science Association)