Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

How removing politics sped up the post office

July 9, 2024

READ FULL ARTICLE AT » Berkeley Haas

A report on New York City’s post offices in the 19th century described the “incompetency, neglect, confusion, and drunkenness” of postal staff. Hundreds of bags of undelivered mail were scattered throughout one building, including a book addressed to the vice president of the United States.

It was a time of political patronage when civil service workers were offered jobs in exchange for partisan donations and allegiance. The passage of the Civil Service Reform Act in 1883—better known as the Pendleton Act—changed that by replacing discretionary appointments with rule-based hiring and abolishing mandatory political contributions.

New research by Berkeley Haas associate professor Guo Xu, with Abhay Aneja of Berkeley Law, demonstrates how these protections improved the quality and efficiency of the post office, particularly by dramatically reducing turnover.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share this
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x