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An Advanced Degree in Public Administration – Is It Valued by City Councils?

Author: JAMES VANDERLEEUW, JASON SIDES and BRIAN WILLIAMS
Published in PAQ, Vol. 39 No. 3

Does holding an advanced degree in public administration matter to city councils, the local political institution that makes the hiring decision? Previous studies of city manager education place emphasis on city managers receiving professional training in public administration, and do so from a strong normative tradition stressing the professionalization of local government. The analysis presented in this paper asks whether city councils in fact place greater value on hiring a manager who holds an advanced degree in public administration compared to managers with other educational backgrounds. We employ logistic regression analysis of responses provided by city managers in the state of Texas to determine the extent to which this is the case. We find that an advanced degree in public administration is valued more than other educational backgrounds by city councils, and this value is independent of social and economic characteristics of cities and traits of individual managers.

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