Frequently Asked Questions

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What is ASAP?

The American State Administrators Project (ASAP) is a decades-long survey of state agency leaders.

How do I cite the ASAP dataset?

All ASAP data users must cite the following article in their research (and must include this citation on their accompanying Works Cited page, if applicable):

Yackee, Jason Webb and Susan Webb Yackee. 2021. “The American State Administrators Project: A New 50-State, 50-Year Data Resource for Scholars.” Public Administration Review, 81: 558-563. View near final version

What years are available?

The agency-level (i.e., individual-level) ASAP survey data are available to academic researchers at the agency level across 10 survey waves—twice a decade from 1964 to 2008. The data years are: 1964, 1968, 1974, 1978, 1984, 1988, 1994, 1998, 2004, and 2008.

Separately, the ASAP survey data are available to academic researchers averaged and aggregated to the state level across 11 survey waves. The data years are: 1964, 1968, 1974, 1978, 1984, 1988, 1994, 1998, 2004, 2008, and 2018. [Note: The 2018 data cannot be shared at the agency-level due to the distribution assurances made to participants during its implementation.]

How many survey responses are in the ASAP dataset?

There are over 11,500 individual responses in the 1964-2008 ASAP dataset with an average response rate of 43%. The 1994, 1998, 2004, and 2008 surveys included a supplemental telephone survey of between seven and ten percent of the ASAP non-respondents. These non-respondents were asked a small battery of attitudinal and attribute questions, and their responses were compared to those of the survey respondents. Analysis found that non-respondents did not systematically differ from ASAP respondents.

There were almost 13,000 individual responses when including the 2018 data, and the 1964-2018 ASAP dataset has an average response rate of 43%.

How do I access the ASAP dataset?

All users of the ASAP data must agree to the conditions and secure proper signatures on the Data Transfer and Use Agreement: The American State Administrator Project (ASAP) before accessing and using the data. Among other things, this agreement insures critical protections for the survey respondents. After agreeing, the data will be transferred to the user.

How can I get technical assistance with the ASAP dataset?

Data are provided “as is,” and the ASAP team is not available to assist researchers in understanding the data structure (e.g. variables, code list, etc.) or to answer any questions about the data. However, if a researcher uncovers potential errors in the data, then s/he may alert Professor Susan Webb Yackee by email (

I have more questions about the ASAP dataset. Where can I get additional information?

Please access the ASAP Codebook for additional information on the data collection process, response rates, exact question wordings across time, and coding processes.

Can the ASAP dataset be used for commercial or other non-academic purposes?

No, the ASAP dataset is to be used for academic research only. Those individuals using the data outside of the realm of academic research are in violation of the Data Transfer and Use Agreement: The American State Administrator Project (ASAP).

Who began ASAP?

Dr. Deil Wright began ASAP in 1964 and continued works on its implementation until the late 2000s. Dr. Wright, who has subsequently passed away, was a much loved and admired person. He was a tremendous scholar, whose innovative use of survey research lives on today in ASAP. Dr. Wright was also a wonderful mentor and an inspiration to all who knew him. Professor Cynthia Bowling of Auburn University co-directed the 2004 and 2008 ASAP surveys. Dr. Bowling graciously and helpfully assisted in the efforts to publicly release the ASAP data.

What other acknowledges are necessary when using the ASAP dataset?

Users of the data agree to provide the following acknowledgement in their work: “We/I gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Professor Deil Wright, the Earhart Foundation of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; Professor Cynthia Bowling, Professor Theodore Arapis, and Auburn University; Professor Susan Webb Yackee and the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and the dozens of students and colleagues who drafted questions and collected data across the years.”

What are the ASAP functional categories?

Dr. Deil Wright administered the ASAP survey to agencies based on their functional role in state government.  Using those functions, he identified a classification system for 13 broad categories of state agencies.  This system is described in the ASAP codebook and is coded in a variable called “Funcat13”.  In other work, he further consolidated those 13 categories into 7 or 8 functions.  Scholars can see those functional categories here and use them in their research, as well.

How do I download the Discretion Scores measure from Smith and Yackee (Forthcoming)?

Discretion Scores are integrated into the agency-level and state-level ASAP datasets already and are therefore available for download after signing the ASAP data transfer agreement. The following article should be cited when using Discretion Scores:

Smith, Natalie, and Susan Webb Yackee. “A New Measure of Agency Policy Discretion.” Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Forthcoming.