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Bureaucratic Politics: Part 1

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 243
Mark Brawley

Bureaucratic Politics 4/3/12 9:35 PM The Origins of Bureaucratic Politics • Does the state act rationally? • States pursue a mix of policies simultaneously o these policies may contradict each other and a single, unitary actor could not do this o ex. U.S. on tobacco à for many years the US subsidized tobacco farmers while they were also discouraging consumers to not buy tobacco o Who operates the most helicopters in the world? The U.S. army, not the air force • It is not rational actor, it is each separate piece of the government acting as its own rational actor • Parts may each be pursuing their own goals o US Dept of Agriculture supports farmers o US surgeon General promotes better health • Each separate branch of the government’s actions can be predicted but as a whole the governments actions cannot be predicted under a realist analysis • Do these sum into a rational action? Graham Allison on the Cuban Missile Crisis • Model 1: System- Level o System level realist argument: 2 single rational actors both pursuing a single rational goal o This model will tell you motivations but will not tell much about anything else • Model 2: Organizational Process o Model 1 is a good basis but does not answer all the questions
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