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Government Week 9 Notes

by: Chapman Lindgren

Government Week 9 Notes POLS 1101

Marketplace > University of Georgia > History > POLS 1101 > Government Week 9 Notes
Chapman Lindgren

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About this Document

These notes cover the federal bureaucracy, bureaus, and the principal-agent problem.
American Government
James E. Monogan, Anneliese S. Hermann
Class Notes
polysci, politicalscience, Government, Gov
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Chapman Lindgren on Friday October 14, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLS 1101 at University of Georgia taught by James E. Monogan, Anneliese S. Hermann in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 10 views. For similar materials see American Government in History at University of Georgia.


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Date Created: 10/14/16
Political Science Notes Week 9 Federal Bureaucracy Pgs. 482 – 504  Distinct features of the U.S. Bureaucracy  Hamilton vs. Jefferson Lesson Objectives 10/10/16  Explain how historical events influences the bureaucracy’s independence and professionalism What is the Federal Bureaucracy?  Bureaucracy refers to the agencies that implement policy o Civilian and military bureaucracy o The government bureaucracy refers to the agencies and offices devoted to carrying out the tasks of the government consistent with the law  Bureaucrats are those who work for the government, but are not elected o All bureaucrats are agents. Congress and the president are principals. Having two principals can present problems in that bureaucracies have competing missions. This can make it difficult to keep both happy and pursue coherent policies  Ex: 2 parents as principals o Implement policies Congress and the president decide upon Structure of the Federal Bureaucracy  Cabinet department (most dependent on the President) o Department of state, department of the interior  Independent agencies o Part of the executive; not housed within particular department o Each has a specific mission and often exercises authority delegated from Congress to make and enforce regulations. o Examples: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) o A few agencies are part of the legislative branch including the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Library of Congress, Government Printing Office  Independent regulatory commissions o Federal Aviation Administration o Special group of agencies designed to allow experts, not politicians, to oversee and regulate a sector of the economy, usually to protect consumers from unfair business practices, but also to protect the businesses in that sector. Political Science Notes Week 9 o Interstate Commerce Commission (1887); abolished by Congress in 1995. o Office of Personnel Management (OPM) created in 1978 th o 20 century: Commissions emerge to regulate economy or other areas of public policy.  Government Corporations o Amtrak o British & Dutch governments were first to establish organizations that mixed public and private sources. th- o East India Company is an example of a 17 century “corporation” o Today, they are business enterprises wholly or partly owned by the government that Congress created to perform a public purpose or provide a market-oriented service, but designed to meet their costs by generating revenues through operations. o AMTRAK, U.S. Postal Service, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation  Hybrid Organizations o Quasi-governmental organizations (Smithsonian) o Quasi-non-governmental organizations (Red Cross) o Government-sponsored enterprises (Fannie Mae) o Federally funded research and development centers (RAND corporation) o Share some of the attributes of public- and private-sector bureaucracies. o Example: The Smithsonian Institution  Is government owned and financially supported, and it is administered by employees working for the federal government, but has many qualities of a private organization, with a governing board of regents, an endowment, and substantial profits. Development of the Executive Bureaucracy: Growth in Size  Increased nationalization led to the bureaucracy’s growth o Increase in government activity produced the increase in the size of bureaucracy.  Spikes in the size are correlated with reform and new programs o Early 1900s and the economy/military  Federal Trade Commission and Federal Reserve Commission were created in the early 1900s to help regulate the economy. o 1930s and the New Deal  Agencies, such as the Social Security Administration, were created to help implement New Deal programs. o 1960s/1970s and the Great Society Political Science Notes Week 9  Large expansion of the welfare state in the 1960s led to creation of agencies such as Health and Human Services to administer these programs. o The role of war  As the U.S. emerged as a superpower after World War II, a larger military was necessary. This led to a larger Department of Defense and State Department. Executive Branch Employment Development of the Executive Bureaucracy: Spoils System  To the victorious party go the spoils o The spoils system does not have a great reputation. It has been viewed as corrupt and not in keeping with efficient administration of government. However, appointing loyalists to executive positions can minimize agency loss for a president. o Civil service reform was established to create a professional class of public servants who would not be beholden to a particular president or party.  Jackson rewarded supporters with jobs in the bureaucracy o Patronage Political Science Notes Week 9  Led to growth, but also interfered with implementation Development of the Executive Bureaucracy: Civil Service  Pendleton Act of 1883 o Made it illegal to require people to pay dues to political parties in order to get national government jobs o Instituted the idea that parts of the bureaucracy are no subject to political appointment and are classified by the skill and education levels required o Most bureaucrats are civil servants o Jobs are protected from patronage and they cannot be fired for political reasons  Break up the role of party bosses Development of the Executive Bureaucracy: Modern Reforms  Bureaucracy is widely seen as inefficient o Bureaucrats are a popular target for politicians. People do not like dealing with rules and regulations. Congress and presidents often complain about “bloated” bureaucracies, but they are the ones who create them  It can be difficult to reform the bureaucracy o Politicians support reform in principle, but avoid actual reforms  Attempts by Bush and Obama denied by Congress o Shrinking the bureaucracy could hurt constituents o Despite complaints, reform is difficult. Hard to find majorities for alternative to current bureaucracy o Specific cuts will affect projects and workers that certain members of Congress care about, thus the fight to keep them Bureaus and the Principal-Agent Problem Lesson Objectives 10/12/16  Describe the principle agent-problem and apply it to understand bureaucratic governance  Explain mechanisms elected officials use to control the bureaucracy The Principal-Agent Problem  Principals hire agents to do some task for them o Car mechanic and car owner o Doctor and patient o In all cases the principal hires an agent to preform specialized work that the principal does not have the time or expertise to do for him or herself  Principal cannot be sure agent is acting faithfully Political Science Notes Week 9 o Information asymmetry exists between principal and agent  Delegation to agents can increase efficiency – it would take a long time to make all of one’s own clothes, grow and cook all food, and sew all clothing. Yet it is difficult to know ex ante if the agent is repairing the car properly or cooking the food to the proper temperature Principals and Agents in the Federal Bureaucracy  Elected officials (Congress and the President) are principals; bureaucrats are agents  Two primary principal-agent problems in bureaucracy o Agencies tend to drift from their defined missions o Conflicting motivations of bureaucrats and elected officials Bureaucratic Drift and Coalitional Drift  Bureaucrats have preferences that may differ from those of elected officials. Mandates given to agencies can be vague, which allows expert bureaucrats some flexibility to solve problems. This flexibility or discretion can be abused by bureaucrats who wish to substitute their own preferences for that of elected officials Political Science Notes Week 9  Changes in the preferences of elected officials present difficulties for bureaucrats o Many do not wish to conform to the expectations of new officials. They may prefer the old way of doing things or prefer to honor the original statute and no the newly elected officials. Civil service employment protection makes drift less costly to bureaucrats  Bureaucratic drift happens when bureaucrats in the agencies responsible for implementing government policies “drift” away from the policy preferences of Congress or the president and implement programs in ways closer to their own policy preferences. Coalitional drift happens when the policy preferences of Congress or the president shift (perhaps after new politicians are elected), creating a mismatch between the agency’s previous mandate and the priorities of its new principals. Motivations of Bureaucrats  Bureaucrats want autonomy and resources  Build coalitions to help bring about policy change o They have tastes and preferences about how agencies should operate  Possess information and expertise o Bureaucrats often have more expert information about specialized policy areas than do members of Congress or the President. This information asymmetry can help them get the kinds of policies they prefer implemented Political Influences on the Bureaucracy  Presidents appoint the top positions at almost all executive branch agencies o Since all top positions (e.g., cabinet secretaries) are confirmed by the Senate, the president cannot always be assured his first choice will get through the confirmation process. This is especially true when the Senate is controlled by a different party than the president’s. o More difficult to get appointments through under divided government  There might be tension between the president’s new appointee and the professional bureaucrats already working in the agency  Congress appropriates money for the bureaucracy o Congress authorizes money for the bureaucracy and often does so through a system of “incremental budgeting.” This system leads to an understanding between Congress and the agencies that budgets from year to year will mostly be the same with Political Science Notes Week 9 small incremental increases. Here you can mention again how this leads bureaucracies to become budget maximizers. Political Oversight of the Bureaucracy  Fire-alarm oversight o Fire-alarm oversight relies on interest groups and citizens to inform Congress when agencies are misbehaving. Each of the Acts listed below constitute a system of fire-alarm oversight.  Administrative Procedures Act (APA) of 1946 established guidelines  Make all processes used to decide rules and regulations transparent and public.  Publish regulations in a timely manner  Publish proposed regulations and allow public hearings  Use trial-like procedures to adjudicate disputes  Report to Congress regularly on the results of regulations  Freedom of Information Act of 1966 requires disclosure of information  Does not require that information vital to national security be released  Sunshine Act of 1976 requires open meetings  Police-patrol oversight o Congress routinely inspects agencies. o Police-patrol oversight occurs when congressmen actively monitor agencies through routine inspection. Bureaucratic Capture  Agencies can also be influence by organizations/corporations  Bureaucratic capture occurs when regulatory agencies are beholden to the organizations or interests they are supposed to regulate.  Often these are the very industries they are trying to regulate o Bureaucracies can also spend money irresponsibly. Part of this is institutional, as typically the next year’s budget is based on the last one. This gives the agencies an incentive to spend all of their money (to get at least as much the next year).  Agencies may care more about the industries than the principals they work for o They can simply be corrupt Interest Groups and Bureaus  Interest groups lobby agencies Political Science Notes Week 9 o Influence those writing administrative laws o Complain when their interests are threatened  An iron triangle o Includes interest groups, congressional committees, and bureaucratic agencies e o Relationships in the iron triangle might lead to biased regulatory decisions Bureaucrats as Lawmakers  Administrative law is made within the executive bureaucracy o Administrative law is the body of law created by executive agencies with the purpose of refining general law passed in legislation o Laws are often more-vague under unified government because Congress and the executive are on the same page  Regulations are reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)  Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council (1984) o Established legal standard for upholding an agency’s authority to write law in a specific area o The court ruled that agency had broad discretion to set standards when the statute in question was vague


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