Testing the theoretical determinants of political control over the bureaucracy: Taking Wood and Waterman Seriously

Kenneth J. Meier, Laurence J. O'Toole, Daniel Hawes

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic

    Abstract

    After a series of sophisticated studies on the interface between bureaucracy and electoral institutions, Dan Wood, and Dan Wood along with Rick Waterman, concluded that it had been established that electoral institutions can control the bureaucracy, and research was now needed to move to the more interesting questions about what factors facilitate or limit this control. Since this call to arms, little progress has been made, probably because taking Wood's proposal seriously requires an extensive data set that measures a wide range of variables such as bureaucratic expertise, external political support for the bureaucracy, political preferences, clientele support, budget autonomy, and incentives, among others.
    Using a unique data set of over 1000 public organizations, plus an interrupted time-series assessment of political control that is analogous to those used by Wood, this paper systematically tests several hypotheses about political control of the bureaucracy. All other things being equal, theory suggests that one would expect political control to be enhanced when a) bureaucrats share values with politicos; b) organizations exhibit relatively less cohesion, leadership, technical expertise, and external political support; and c) organizations are small, less complicatedly bureaucratic, and centralized. Resources available to the bureaucracy can also be expected to matter for political control. This paper tests a series of such hypotheses from spatial theory, Rourke's theory of bureaucratic power, and organization theory.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2007
    Event103rd Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA) 2007 - Chicago, United States
    Duration: 30 Aug 20072 Sep 2007
    Conference number: 103

    Conference

    Conference103rd Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA) 2007
    CountryUnited States
    CityChicago
    Period30/08/072/09/07

    Keywords

    • METIS-245361

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