Jaime Lee Kucinskas.

Associate Professor of Sociology Jaime Kucinskas is the co-author of a paper published in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Sociology.

Written with independent scholar and former Hamilton professor Yvonne Zylan, “Walking the Moral Tightrope: Federal Civil Servants’ Loyalties, Caution, and Resistance under the Trump Administration” examines how mid- and high-level career civil servants across agencies experienced and responded to the Trump administration. The authors also looked into whether the career corps were “as loyal to mission, risk averse, and serially partisan or nonpartisan as most public administration research instead describes.”

Using 127 interviews conducted with employed and former mid- and high-level career civil servants during the beginning, middle, and end of Donald Trump’s presidency, Kucinskas and Zylan found that, “despite widespread dissatisfaction with the Trump administration, most civil servants largely sought to comply at work, circumscribed by their loyalties to acting appropriately within the scope of their mandates.”

The interviews revealed “a uniquely toxic, unpredictable, and fear-based political leadership class — one that rendered long-standing norms of bureaucratic service unstable guides to action,” the authors wrote.

Kucinskas discussed her research and the results of this study in “How Bureaucrats deal with political chaos above,” a recent Niskanen Center podcast.

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