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A Comparative View of the American Bureaucracy. Public’s hostile feelings towards ‘big government’ & ‘bureaucracies’. Decentralized: more representational, but less accountable Relatively small compared to other countries (except our regulations; Justice).

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A Comparative View of the American Bureaucracy


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a comparative view of the american bureaucracy
A Comparative View of the American Bureaucracy
  • Public’s hostile feelings towards ‘big government’ & ‘bureaucracies’.
  • Decentralized: more representational, but less accountable
  • Relatively small compared to other countries (except our regulations; Justice)
slide2
Incoherent organization — the American bureaucracy has few clear lines of control, responsibility, and accountability
  • Divided control — bureaucratic agencies have two bosses, the President and Congress, who are constantly battling for control
  • Accessibility — individuals and groups can get a hearing and a response from bureaucrats without necessarily starting at the top (Street level)
transformation of the bureaucracy
Transformation of the Bureaucracy
  • Administrative history: expansion in the size and responsibilities of the executive branch
    • The corporation and the progressives
    • The Great Depression
    • World War II and its aftermath
    • The regulatory state
    • Devolution and rollback
    • The war on terrorism
what do bureaucrats do
What Do Bureaucrats Do?
  • Execute the law
    • Implementing legislative directives
  • Regulate (rule making)
    • Vague directives need filling in
  • Adjudicate
    • e.g. National Labor Relations Board
what influences bureaucratic behavior
What Influences Bureaucratic Behavior?
  • The Public
  • The President
    • Tools of the President (Chief budget officer; Appointments; media)
  • Congress
    • Legislating agency organization and mission
    • Confirming Presidential appointments
    • Controlling the agency budget
    • Holding oversight hearings (Fire-alarm/Police Patrol)
  • Interest groups
slide7
POLICY IMPLICATION?

1. Division of Labor/Development of expertise: more efficient

2. Principle/Agent problems: preventing shirking

3. Rent Seeking: special interest influence

4. Delegation vs. Abdication:

why we give bureaucrats discretion
Why we give bureaucrats discretion?
  • Limiting agency discretion by specifying precise policy details in legislation is costly to legislators.
  • It takes time and skill to write careful legislation.
  • Lack of discretion may also mean less results – a slow and ineffective agency
  • Rational Legislators under uncertainty
controlling the bureaucracy preventing policy shirking
Controlling the Bureaucracy: Preventing Policy Shirking
  • Congressional oversight
    • Committees: Committees have created separate oversight or investigative subcommittees. Increased # of hearings. BUT – Much of the information that subcommittees get on bureaus comes from the agency themselves.
  • Monitoring :
    • Congressional Research Service
    • Congressional Budget Office
    • General Accounting Office
  • Carefully Written Laws
    • overlapping jurisdictions, etc.
reforming the federal bureaucracy
Reforming the Federal Bureaucracy
  • Scaling back the size of the bureaucracy
    • Privatizing
    • Cutting the Red Tape
  • “Reinventing government”
    • Introducing business principles
  • Protecting against bureaucratic abuses of power
  • Increasing Presidential control
    • Reform civil service – more appointees?
cutting the red tape
Cutting the Red Tape
  • Where do we start?
    • NSF
    • FCC
    • Funding Student Loans
    • National Parks Service
    • National Weather Service
    • CDC
    • FDA
    • FEC
slide13

Extra Credit: Forum Lecture - The Scientific Case for Global Warming: Problems and Prospects

  • Thursday, Oct. 14th, 7:30pm Barrick Museum Auditorium
  • Sign in with Graduate Assistant Jason Mitchell at the Event