Bureaucratic capacity, delegation, and political reform

John D. Huber, Nolan McCarty

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

203 Scopus citations

Abstract

We analyze a model of delegation and policymaking in polities where bureaucratic capacity is low. Our analysis suggests that low bureaucratic capacity diminishes incentives for bureaucrats to comply with legislation, making it more difficult for politicians to induce bureaucrats to take actions that politicians desire. Consequently, when bureaucratic capacity is low, standard principles in the theoretical literature on delegation no longer hold. We also use the model to examine the issue of political reform in polities with low bureaucratic capacity. The model indicates that politicians in such polities will be trapped in a situation whereby they have little incentive to undertake reforms of either the bureaucracy or other institutions (such as courts) that are crucial for successful policymaking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-494
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Volume98
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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