Tenure, promotion and performance

The career path of US ambassadors

Eric Arias, Alastair Smith

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The mission of diplomats have often been characterized as promoting peace while advancing national interests. Ambassadorial appointments are also portrayed as patronage, used as a reward for domestic political favors. Here, we develop an original database of the tenure of US ambassadors from sources at the US State Department to better understand the determinants of ambassadorial careers. We assess the tenure of both political appointees and career diplomats based on four factors: (1) Political factors, such as leader turnover in the US and the host nation; (2) Personal characteristics of the ambassador, such as age and gender; (3) Characteristics of the host nation such as population, wealth, trade and alignment with the US; and (4) Performance measures, such as improvements in economic, diplomatic and security relations. US Presidential turnover has the greatest effect on ambassadorial tenure, especially for political appointees. Performance measures have little impact on the tenure or future career prospects of ambassadors.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1-27
    Number of pages27
    JournalReview of International Organizations
    DOIs
    StateAccepted/In press - Apr 12 2017

    Fingerprint

    diplomat
    promotion
    career
    performance
    turnover
    career prospect
    political factors
    clientelism
    reward
    peace
    Tenure
    Career paths
    determinants
    leader
    gender
    economics
    Turnover
    Factors
    Performance measures

    Keywords

    • Diplomatic relations
    • Tenure
    • US ambassadors

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

    Cite this

    Tenure, promotion and performance : The career path of US ambassadors. / Arias, Eric; Smith, Alastair.

    In: Review of International Organizations, 12.04.2017, p. 1-27.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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