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David E. Lewis


William R. Kenan, Jr. Chair
Professor of Law (by courtesy)

David E. Lewis is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Vanderbilt University. His research interests include the presidency, executive branch politics and public administration. He is the author of two books on American politics, 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 SciencePublic 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 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 currently serves on the editorial board of Presidential Studies Quarterly and Public Administration. PhD. Stanford University.


Representative publications

  • “Political Control and the Forms of Agency Independence,” (with Jennifer L. Selin) George Washington Law Review, 83(4/5):1487-1516 (2015)
  • “Presidents and Patronage.” (with Gary E. Hollibaugh, Jr. and Gabe Horton), American Journal of Political Science 58(4): 1024-1042 (2014).
  • “Influencing the Bureaucracy: The Irony of Congressional Oversight.” (with Joshua D. Clinton and Jennifer L. Selin), American Journal of Political Science 58(2):387-401 (2014).
  • Sourcebook of United States Executive Agencies (with Jennifer L. Selin). Report for the Administrative Conference of the United States (2012).
  • “Separated Powers in the United States.” (with Joshua D. Clinton, Anthony M. Bertelli, Christian Grose, and David C. Nixon) American Journal of Political Science 56(2):341-54 (2012).
  • “Presidential Appointments and Personnel.” Annual Review of Political Science 14 (June):47-66 (2011).
  • View Curriculum Vitae