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Political Science
POLI 243
Mark Brawley

Poli 243 Lecture Notes January 28 2013 Bureaucratic Politics The importance of an individual’s role  Theories based on the assumption that duty and obligations- defined by the role one plays- determines how individuals behave  Responsibilities of office shape how individuals formulate and execute foreign policy  Level of analysis developed after analysts experienced frustration with system level arguments, because they assume states are unitary actors, the array of policies a single state adopts should fit together into a rational package- the entire range of policies should be coherent and aimed at similar goals o But when observing a country’s policies, we see conflicting schemes enacted o Best examples found in domestic affairs  How the U.S. government handles cigarettes: the government subsidizes the production of tobacco, then turns around and spends money to dissuade people from smoking  Bureaucratic politics approach drops assumption that the state is a unitary actor and replace it with one that says the state is composed of disparate groups of organizations o Each of these organizations has its own goals and is independent enough to determine a portion of policy output  Example: U.S.’s military purchasing of aircraft o A single rational decision maker might be able to establish the specific number of aircraft necessary to defend the U.S. o This number would be lower than the actual number of planes and helicopters the U.S. military actually operates and the result may be wasteful in many ways, since the government could be using the spending in other ways o The Bureaucratic politics approach: the approach focuses on who decides which aircraft and how many to buys o The U.S. military is not a monolithic organization but is made up of 4 services: the air force, the navy, the army, and the marines o The heads of each branch of the military are not necessarily thinking about what is best for the country, but what is best for his/her service o Therefore, the individual’s goals in this model are established by the role he or she plays, by the office he or she holds  Theorists using bureaucratic politics notice that particular decision makers see the problems of foreign pol
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