There is no unifying theory to guide the study of partisan political staff. The literature suggests staffers may be variously mechanisms for resolving principal-agent problems, extensions of centralized political control or spoils given as rewards inside the core executive. Annual Public Accounts data, available only since 2007, offer a promising new addition to the debate over federal exempt staffs. This paper presents descriptive and linear regression results on staffing expenditures for five years of federal data in Canada. Using the construct of revealed preference, predictors of variance in ministerial spending on staffing may provide new, objective information on their function in Canadian government. Results of this study demonstrate that quantitative methods can be applied to the study of political staff and may be a helpful addition as the field continues to develop, test and refine theory.
Canadian Journal of Political Science
Arthur Kroeger College of Public Affairs

Robson, J. (2015). Spending on political staffers and the revealed preferences of cabinet: Examining a new data source on federal political staff in Canada. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 48(3), 675–697. doi:10.1017/S0008423915000529