Donald Moynihan at Vox:

The best recruitment tool government has going for it is that it allows people to make a difference, whether it’s helping kids grow, performing groundbreaking science, or protecting their fellow citizens.

Research shows that people with high public service motivation want to work in government, and this motivation makes them more honest and effective in their work. But when people feel like they cannot fulfill such motivation in an organization, they become more likely to exit.


How long will teachers who are censored or harassed, scientists fighting a hostile environment, or lawyers watching the rule of law being ignored stay in the public sector? And who replaces them? As public organizations become more politicized, employees are not just more likely to exit, but also less likely to invest in upgrading their skills because there is less reason to expect those skills will be put to use.