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David E. Lewis

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

David 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. 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.

Research Interests

American politics, public administration, administrative law


Representative Publications

  • “Political Control and the Forms of Agency Independence,” George Washington Law Review (forthcoming 2015) (with Jennifer L. Selin)
  • “Presidents and Patronage,” 58(4) American Journal of Political Science 1024 (2014) (with Gary E. Hollibaugh, Jr. and Gabe Horton)
  • "Influencing the Bureaucracy: The Irony of Congressional Oversight," 58(2) American Journal of Political Science 387 (2014) (with Joshua D. Clinton and Jennifer L. Selin)
  • Sourcebook of the United States Executive Agencies (with Jennifer Selin). Report for the Administrative Conference of the United States (2012)
  • "Separated Powers in the United States," 56(2) American Journal of Political Science 341 (2012) (with Joshua D. Clinton, Anthony Bertelli, Christian Grose and David C. Nixon)
  • “Presidential Appointments and Personnel,” 14 Annual Review of Political Science 47 (2011)
  • 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)
  • "Not-So-Independent Agencies: Party Polarization and the Limits of Institutional Design," 88(2) Boston University Law Review 459 (2008) (with Neal Devins)
  • “Testing Pendleton’s Premise: Do Political Appointees Make Worse Bureaucrats?” 69(4) Journal of Politics 1073 (2007)
  • Presidents and the Politics of Agency Design: Political Insulation in the United States Government Bureaucracy, 1946-1997, Stanford University Press (2003)