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A Vacancy Chain Model of Local Managers’ Career Advancement

Journal Title Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Published Date July 01, 2022
Research Topic
Research Type


Local public managers are mobile in their career trajectories. While the extant public administration literature has predominantly examined this topic from a leadership turnover perspective, few studies have approached the career trajectories of local managers from a holistic, system-level angle. This article draws upon the vacancy chain literature and frames local managers’ interconnected career trajectories within a nationwide professional job market, which we term “leadership turnover chains.” We examine factors influencing the formation of such leadership turnover chains among cities. With a dataset containing information from the resumes of 517 US local managers across 28 years, we employ panel dyadic logistic regressions to analyze the leadership turnover chains among cities. Our findings suggest that managers are more likely to move among dyads of cities that are geographically close and with similar levels of economic prosperity, population size, racial diversity, and political climate. A promotion intercity turnover tends to take place from a populous city to a less populous city, while a demotion intercity turnover exhibits an opposite pattern. This study contributes to the theory of leadership turnover of local managers, highlighting a macro vacancy chain perspective on their career trajectories.

Yi, Hongtao, Catherine Chen. 2022. A Vacancy Chain Model of Local Managers' Career Advancement. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.