Bureaucratic capacity, delegation, and political reform

  • Huber J
  • McCarty N
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Abstract

Accessed: 16-02-2017 16:48 UTC JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. We analyze a model of delegation and policymaking in polities low. Our analysis suggests that low bureaucratic capacity diminishes to comply with legislation, making it more difficult for politicians actions that politicians desire. Consequently, when bureaucratic capaci the theoretical literature on delegation no longer hold. We also use t political reform in polities with low bureaucratic capacity. The model polities will be trapped in a situation whereby they have little incentive t bureaucracy or other institutions (such as courts) that are crucial for succ he central tension motivating contemporary the-ories of delegation from politicians to bureau-crats lies in the potential conflict between the value of bureaucratic expertise, on one hand, and the desire for political control, on the other. This tension is well-known, and has been debated at least since Weber's classic work on bureaucracy. Modern bureau-cracies are staffed with individuals who, by virtue of "rational" bureaucratic organization, are highly skilled policy experts who in principle should be able to help less knowledgeable politicians achieve their goals. However, the very skills and expertise that bureau-crats enjoy create the possibility that bureaucrats will usurp the rightful role of politicians in policymaking processes. Because the way this tension is resolved de-termines the ultimate compatibility of democracy and bureaucracy, existing theories of delegation typically focus on understanding how and to what extent politi-cians can resolve it.' In many contexts, particularly developing democra-cies, bureaucracy does not fit the "Weberian" charac-teristics that are assumed in the existing delegation literature. The bureaucracies may be staffed with in-dividuals who lack the personal capacity to execute orders effectively. The organizational structure may lead to breakdowns within bureaucratic hierarchies,

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Authors

  • John D. Huber

  • Nolan McCarty

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