Policymaking, Bureaucratic Discretion, and Overhead Democracy

Samuel Workman, Bryan D. Jones and Ashley E. Jochim

in The Oxford Handbook of American Bureaucracy

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199238958
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

Policymaking, Bureaucratic Discretion, and Overhead Democracy

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  • Public Administration
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This article starts by presenting a general overview of the roots of debates over control of the American bureaucracy as expressed in three major traditions informing its study: the classic, behavioural, and economic (contractual) perspectives. It reviews the strengths and weaknesses of each of the three traditions. Each of these three traditions has something to add to the appreciation of the dynamics of American bureaucracy and its relationship to democracy. It then turns to a discussion of the logic of theoretical approach to the study of American bureaucracy. The approach is grounded in two properties of political institutions and bureaucratic organizations. It further evaluates the implications of the information-processing theory for future research on American bureaucracy.

Keywords: policymaking; bureaucratic discretion; American bureaucracy; democracy; political institutions; bureaucratic organizations; information-processing theory

Article.  11751 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Public Administration ; US Politics

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