PS 101-Chapter 12 The Bureaucracy
o Bureaucracy: The system of civil servants and political appointees who
implement congressional or presidential decisions; also known as the
o Civil Servants: Employees of bureaucratic agencies within the government
o PoliticalAppointees: People selected by an elected leader, such as the
president, to hold a government position
o Regulation:Arule that allows the government to exercise control over
individuals and corporations by restricting certain behavior
o Notice and comment procedure:Astep in the rule-making process in
which proposed rules are published in the Federal Register and made
available for debate by the general public.
o Street-level bureaucrats:Agency employees who directly provide services
to the public, such as those who provide job-training services.
o State capacity: The knowledge, personnel, and institutions that the
government requires to effectively implement policies.
o Red tape: Excessive or unnecessarily complex regulations imposed by the
o Standard operating procedures: Rules that lower-level bureaucrats must
follow when implementing policies
o Problem of control:Adifficulty faced by electrifying officials in ensuring
that when bureaucrats implement policies, they follow these officials’
intentions but still have enough discretion to use their expertise
o Principal-agent game: The interaction between a principal(such as the
president or Congress), who needs something done, and an agent(such as a
bureaucrat), who is responsible for carrying out the principal’order.
o Regulatory Capture:Asituation in which bureaucrats favor the interests of
the groups or corporations they are supposed to regulate at the expense of
the general public.
o Neutral Competence: The idea, credited to theorist Max Weber, that
suggests bureaucrats should provide expertise without the influence of
elected officials, interest groups, or their own political agenda.
o Federal Civil Service:Asystem created by the 1883 Pendleton Civil
ServiceAct in which bureaucrats are hired on the basis of merit rather than
o Office of Management and Budget:An office within the Executive Office
of the President that is responsible for creating the president’s annual
budget proposal to Congress, reviewing proposed rules, and other budget-
o Independent agencies: Government offices or organizations that provide
government service and are not part of an executive department.
o Budget Maximizers: Bureaucrats who seek to increase funding for their
agency whether or not that additional spending is worthwhile. o Turkey Farms:Agencies where campaign workers and donors are often
appointed to reward them for their service because it is unlikely that their
lack of qualifications will lead to bad policy.
o Bureaucratic drift: Bureaucrats’tendency to implement policies in a way
that favors their own political objectives rather than following the original
intentions of the legislation.
o Oversight: Congressional efforts to make sure that laws are implemented
correctly by the bureaucracy after they have been passed.
o Police Patrol Oversight:Amethod of oversight in which members of
Congress constantly monitor the bureaucracy to make sure that laws are
o Fire alarm oversight:Amethod of oversight in which members of
Congress respond to complaints about the burearacy or problems of
implementation only as they arise rather than exercising constant
II. Lecture(4/15/13) The Bureaucracy
A. What are Bureaucracies?
1. In general
a. Large, complex organizations in which employees have very specific job
responsibilities and work within a hierarchy of authority
2. In U.S. national government
a. –The departments, agencies, bureaus, offices and other units that administer
the nation’s laws and policies.
B. Administrators vs. Executives
1. Executives are political heads of agencies elected or appointed to initiate
policies and supervise
2. Administrators are appointed to the agencies to actually do the enforcing and
implementing of policy
C. Why Do We Need One?
1. System is too complex