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Lecture 3

Lecture 3 - Bureaucracies and Policymaking

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University of Ottawa
Political Science
Joseph Roman

Jan. 21, 2014 Bureaucracies and Policymaking • Features of bureaucracies • Relationships with politicians • Theories of bureaucracies • Cycles of policymaking • The role of politics in policymaking What are Bureaucracies? 1. Carry out the daily operations of the state 2. Organized along departmental lines to determine its function – each department functions autonomously according to its own logic  Limited and extended public sectors • Functions may be isolated or integrated • Abureaucracy’s influence depends on the state that one is examining • Bureaucracies within a state need to be examined relationally The Organization of Bureaucracies • Aminister sits at the top of every bureaucracy • In parliamentary systems, a minister is drawn from the ranks of the legislature and must answer to it for a department’s actions • In presidential systems, a minister is appointed by and responsible to the president • All bureaucracies are hierarchical • Ministers (1) are aided by junior ministers with divisional responsibilities and (2) work with a very small group of very senior bureaucrats • Ministers depend on these senior bureaucrats because of their expertise and knowledge • Max Weber’s dictatorship of the official • Bureaucrats’expertise, permanency, and experience make them masters of politicians • Ministerial control of a bureaucracy is difficult due to secrecy and organizational complexity • Bureaucracies are large, cumbersome, and fragmented • Salaries diminish ministerial control • Professionalization and the use of rationality and knowledge to make decisions and give good advice Recruiting Bureaucrats 1. Generalist tradition • Search for general knowledge and the ability to learn • Bureaucrats move between departments • Examinations determine competency 2. Departmental tradition • Specialized knowledge • Stay at one post • Move back and forth between the public and the private sectors Theories of Bureaucracy: Rational-legal Ideal-type • Max Weber saw bureaucracies as a feature of modern society • Bureaucracies as efficient • Rules and regulations • Hierarchy of officialdom • Salaried professionals who are appointed and promoted • Formal rules are uniformly applied to adjudicate cases • Rationality • bookkeeping Theories of Bureaucracy: Clientelism • Political use of public office for private gain • Quid pro quo • Patronage/spoils system • Voters and donors are rewarded with public sector employment if they supported the winning party in an election Theories of Bureaucracy: Rational Choice • Bureaucracies are self-interested organizations • Empire building • Public sector expands and public goods become overproduced • Inflated costs are passed on to citizens Theories of Bureaucracy: New Public Management (NPM) • Bureaucracies are not subject t the discipline of the marketplace • The public sector needs to be injected with an entrepreneurial spirit • Privatize • Decentralize • Spending should be limited • Accountability and efficiency • Consumers rather than citizens What do Bureaucracies Do? • Make policies • Bureaucrat’organizational knowledge help them navigate the messiness of policymaking • Weber’s rational-legal ideal-type does not reflect the “real world” of bureaucracies • Absolute devotion to rules may put sand in the wheels of an organization • Report back to ministers on a regular basis • Hierarchies are not always followed and bureaucracies can be bottom-up rather than top- down Types of Bureaucrats 1. Permanent administrators • Standard bureaucrats who are successful in competitions for employment • Expected to be politically neutral 2. Political appointments • Very senior bureaucrats with whom a (usually) new government can work with 3. Policy advisors • Provide advice on the direction that policymaking is taking, not on operations of
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