Table of Contents
Introduction – Normative assessment of delegation
Application of Principal-Agent logics to Bureaucracies
Decreased likelihood of policy adoption
Methods and data
Operationalization of dependent variable
Operationalization of independent and control variables
Analysis and results
Description of dependent variable
Conclusion – Implications for assessing delegation
Appendix – Stata syntax
1. Introduction – Normative assessment of delegation
“Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils — no, nor the human race, as I believe — and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day. “ (Plato 1960: 332) Plato’s ideal state is that of a noocracy, a state lead by a group of experts (the term philosopher had a much broader meaning in these times). Such a type of regime is solely justified by output legitimacy, that is by the results it generates (Cities have rest from their evil). In other word: This is a government for the people but not necessarily by the people. In recent years this type of legitimacy has been used to justify a transfer of power from elected politicians to non-elected institutions such as Non Majoritarian Institution, supranational organizations or private organizations. The normative discussions of these delegation processes are very much focused on the question whether output legitimacy compensates for input legitimacy (Lowi: 1969, Schoenbrod: 1993, Majone :1996). But in order to judge on this issue one has to know whether this really is the trade-off being made by politicians. In order to answer the normative question of delegation it is important to answer a positive question: Do politicians actually promote output legitimacy by delegating or do they delegate for completely other reasons? With regards to delegation to Bureaucracies this question has only been discussed in a very narrow fashion. Although Bureaucracy is a field of extensive research, there are relatively few comparative studies on Bureaucracies in different countries. Most studies conducted focus on variation of delegation across different policy fields in just one country (Congressional delegation to independent agencies in the USA has been studied many since the 1960s). Yet, there is very little quantitative research that studies Bureaucracy´s influence in a cross-country-comparison. And with a few exceptions (for example Huber and Shipman: 2000) those cross-country-comparisons are rather "comparable than comparative" (Derlien 1992: 89) since they lack systematic data on Bureaucracies. This constitutes a research gap because there are no reasons why Bureaucracies should be viewed as cases "sui generis". This paper attempts to fill this gap by answering the question: What explains Ministerial Bureaucracy´s influence in western democracies? Or reformulated in delegation terms: Why do politicians delegate to Ministerial Bureaucracies? The distinction between Bureaucrats and politicians that is used here is based on democratic legitimacy: Politicians are democratically legitimized (i.e. they are formally elected) and Bureaucrats are legitimized by their expertise which is assured by the career logics of the civil service. This question will be answered in a Principal-Agent Framework which will be presented in the next section. Hypotheses deduced from this theory...
References: Huber, J. D. and Shipan, C. R (2000) The Costs of Control. Legislators, Agencies, and Transaction Costs, Legislative Studies Quarterly, 25 (1): 25–52.
Plato (1960) The Republic, Plain Label Books, London
Schoenbrod, David (1983) Goals Statutes or Rules Statutes: The Case of the Clean Air Act, UCLA Law Review 30:740-70.
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