Are Bureaucrats Budget‐Maximizers?

Leif Lewin

in Self-Interest and Public Interest in Western Politics

Published in print April 1991 | ISBN: 9780198277255
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599774 | DOI:

Series: Comparative European Politics

 Are Bureaucrats Budget‐Maximizers?

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Even if bureaucrats carry out the wishes of the voters and the decisions of the politicians by performing various sorts of tasks, it is, according to the assumption of the public‐choice theory, their self‐interest that best accounts for their actions.

Critical analysis of budget‐maximizing hypothesis, formulated by the leading‐members of the public‐choice school such as Tullock, Dawns, and Niskanen, shows serious shortcomings of this model. Although Leif Lewin agrees that certain amount of contradiction exists in the empirical evidence on this issue, as ‘one came across bureaucrats, who out of self‐interest try to maximize the budget for their agencies’, he argues that budget‐maximization hypothesis explains too little about essential features of Western bureaucracy and other circumstances appear to be more important for its description.

Keywords: budget‐maximization hypothesis; public‐choice theory; self‐interest; Western bureaucracy

Chapter.  9204 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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