Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Democratic Accountability and the Politics of Mass Administrative Reorganization

  • Anthony M. Bertelli and J. Andrew Sinclair
Abstract

Governments face different incentives when they reorganize many administrative agencies at one time rather than making infrequent, case-by-case changes. This article develops a theory of mass administrative reorganizations, which posits that the politics of reorganization is focused on government accountability. Viewing mass reorganization as a structured decision, it argues that choices about independence, agency organization and functional disposition have different impacts on the political costs of administrative policy making. Analyzing novel data from a recent British reorganization with sequential logistic statistical models provides substantial support for these claims. The study challenges the focus on organizational survival in the existing literature. By eschewing more fundamental political questions of democratic accountability, the prevailing approach masks essential politics, and in the context of this study, all influence of conflict due to party and agency policy positions.

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All
*

New York University (emails: bertelli@nyu.edu, j.andrew.sinclair@nyu.edu). Funding was provided by a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (Grant Ref. ES/J010553/1). We thank Haram Lee, George Krause, Oliver James, Sanghee Park, Stéphane Lavertu, Chris Skelcher, Katherine Dommett and Katherine Tonkiss for assistance with data sources and helpful comments. Data replication sets are available at http://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataverse/BJPolS and online appendices are available at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1017/S0007123416000077.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Alesina, Alberto, and Summers, Lawrence H.. 1993. Central Bank Independence and Macroeconomic Performance: Some Comparative Evidence. Journal of Money, Credit and Banking 25 (2):151162.
Banks, Jeffrey S., and Weingast, Barry R.. 1992. The Political Control of Bureaucracies Under Asymmetric Information. American Journal of Political Science 36 (2):509524.
Berry, Christopher R., Burden, Barry C., and Howell, William G.. 2010. After Enactment: The Lives and Deaths of Federal Programs. American Journal of Political Science 54 (1):117.
Bertelli, Anthony M. 2006a. Delegating to the Quango: Ex Ante and Ex Post Ministerial Constraints. Governance 19 (2):229249.
Bertelli, Anthony M. 2006b. Governing The Quango: An Auditing And Cheating Model Of Quasi-Governmental Authorities. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 16 (2):239261.
Bertelli, Anthony M. 2008. Credible Governance? Transparency, Political Control, the Personal Vote and British Quangos. Political Studies 56 (4):807829.
Bertelli, Anthony M., and Whitford, Andrew B.. 2009. Perceiving Credible Commitments: How Independent Regulators Shape Elite Perceptions of Regulatory Quality. British Journal of Political Science 39 (3):517537.
Bertelli, Anthony M., and Grose, Christian R.. 2011. The Lengthened Shadow of Another Institution? Ideal Point Estimates for the Executive Branch and Congress. American Journal of Political Science 55 (4):767781.
Bertelli, Anthony M., and Lynn, Laurence E. Jr. 2006. Madison’s Managers: Public Administration and the Constitution. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Bertelli, Anthony M., and John, Peter. 2013a. Public Policy Investment: Priority Setting and Conditional Representation in British Statecraft. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bertelli, Anthony M., and John, Peter. 2013b. Public Policy Investment: Risk and Return in British Politics. British Journal of Political Science 43 (4):741773.
Boin, Arjen, Kuipers, Sanneke, and Steenbergen, Marco. 2010. The Life and Death of Public Organizations: A Question of Institutional Design? Governance 23 (3):385410.
Bovens, Mark. 2010. Two Concepts of Accountability: Accountability as a Virtue and as a Mechanism. West European Politics 33 (5):946967.
Cameron, A. Colin, and Trivedi, Pravin K.. 2005. Microeconometrics: Methods and Applications. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Canavan, Chris, and Tommasi, Mariano. 1997. On the Credibility of Alternative Exchange Rate Regimes. Journal of Development Economics 54 (1):101122.
Carpenter, D. P. 2010. Reputation and Power. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Carpenter, Daniel P., and Lewis, David E.. 2004. Political Learning From Rare Events: Poisson Inference, Fiscal Constraints, and the Lifetime of Bureaus. Political Analysis 12 (3):201232.
Cheibub, José Antonio. 2006. Presidentialism, Electoral Identifiability, and Budget Balances in Democratic Systems. American Political Science Review 100 (3):353368.
Clinton, Joshua D., Bertelli, Anthony, Grose, Christian R., Lewis, David E., and Nixon, David C.. 2012. Separated Powers in the United States: The Ideology of Agencies, Presidents, and Congress. American Journal of Political Science 56 (2):341354.
Conservative Party. 2010. The Conservative Manifesto 2010: Invitation to Join the Government of Britain. Available from: https://goo.gl/yxeNX0, accessed 9 March 2016.
Corder, J. Kevin. 2004. Are Federal Programs Immortal? Estimating the Hazard of Program Termination. American Politics Research 32 (1):325.
Cox, Gary. 1987. The Efficient Secret: The Cabinet and the Development of Political Parties in Victorian England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Doherty, Kathleen M. 2013. Seeking Experts or Agents of Control: The Use of Advisory Committees in Bureaucratic Policymaking. Unpublished Manuscript, Los Angeles, University of Southern California.
Downs, Anthony. 1967. Inside Bureaucracy. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press.
Egan, Michelle. 1997. Regulatory Strategies, Delegation and European Market Integration. Journal of European Public Policy 5 (3):87122.
Epstein, David, and O’Halloran, Sharyn. 1999. Delegating Powers: A Transaction Cost Politics Approach to Policy Making Under Separate Powers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fiorina, Morris P. 1977. Congress: Keystone of the Washington Establishment. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Flinders, Matthew. 2009. The Politics of Patronage in the United Kingdom: Shrinking Reach and Diluted Permeation. Governance 22 (4):547570.
Gilardi, Fabrizio. 2002. Policy Credibility and Delegation to Independent Regulatory Agencies: A Comparative Empirical Analysis. Journal of European Public Policy 9 (6):873893.
Gilardi, Fabrizio. 2007. The Same, But Different: Central Banks, Regulatory Agencies, and the Politics of Delegation to Independent Authorities. Comparative European Politics 5 (3):303327.
Gilardi, Fabrizio, and Maggetti, Martino. 2011. The Independence of Regulatory Authorities. In Handbook on the Politics of Regulation, Edited by David Levi-Faur, 201214. London: Edward Elgar.
Greve, Carsten, Flinders, Matthew, and Van Thiel, Sandra. 1999. Quangos – What’s in a Name? Defining Quangos from a Comparative Perspective. Governance 12 (2):129146.
Herrendorf, Berthold. 1999. Transparency, Reputation, and Credibility Under Floating and Pegged Exchange Rates. Journal of International Economics 49:3150.
Hood, Christopher. 2002. The Risk Game and the Blame Game. Government and Opposition 37 (1):1537.
Hood, Christopher. 2010. The Blame Game: Spin, Bureaucracy, and Self-Preservation in Government. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Horn, Murray J. 1995. The Political Economy of Public Administration: Institutional Choice in the Public Sector. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Horn, Murray J., and Shepsle, Kenneth A.. 1989. Commentary on ‘Administrative Arrangements and the Political Control of Agencies:’ Administrative Process and Organizational Form as Legislative Responses to Agency Costs. Virginia Law Review 75 (2):499508.
James, Oliver. 2003. The Executive Agency Revolution in Whitehall: Public Interest Versus Bureau-Shaping Explanations. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
James, Oliver, Petrovsky, Nicolai, Moseley, Alice, and Boyne, George. 2014. The Politics of Agency Death: Ministers and the Survival of Government Agencies in a Parliamentary System. Working Paper. Exeter: University of Exeter.
John, Peter, Bertelli, Anthony M., Jennings, Will, and Bevan, Shaun. 2013. Policy Agendas in British Politics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Jones, Bryan D., and Baumgartner, Frank R.. 2005. The Politics of Attention: How Government Prioritizes Problems. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Kaufman, Herbert. 1976. Are Government Organizations Immortal?. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.
Keefer, Philip, and Stasavage, David. 2002. Checks and Balances, Private Information, and the Credibility of Monetary Commitments. International Organization 56 (4):751774.
Keefer, Philip, and Stasavage, David. 2003. The Limits of Delegation: Veto Players, Central Bank Independence, and the Credibility of Monetary Policy. American Political Science Review 97 (3):407423.
Kiewiet, D. Rodrick, and McCubbins, Matthew D.. 1991. The Logic of Delegation. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Klijn, Erik-Hans, and Skelcher, Chris. 2007. Democracy and Governance Networks: Compatible or Not? Public Administration 85 (3):587608.
Lewis, David E. 2002. The Politics of Agency Termination: Confronting the Myth of Agency Immortality. The Journal of Politics 64 (1):89107.
Lewis, David E. 2004. The Adverse Consequences of the Politics of Agency Design for Presidential Management in the United States: The Relative Durability of Insulated Agencies. British Journal of Political Science 34 (3):377404.
Lowi, Theodore J. 1979. The End of Liberalism: The Second Republic of the United States. New York: Norton.
Macey, Jonathan R. 1992. Organizational Design and Political Control of Administrative Agencies. Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization 8 (1):93110.
Majone, Giandomenico. 2001. Two Logics of Delegation Agency and Fiduciary Relations in EU Governance. European Union Politics 2 (1):103122.
Mansbridge, Jane. 2003. Rethinking Representation. American Political Science Review 97 (4):515528.
Mansbridge, Jane. 2009. A ‘Selection Model’ of Political Representation. Journal of Political Philosophy 17 (4):369398.
Moe, Terry M. 1990. The Politics of Structural Choice: Toward a Theory of Public Bureaucracy. In Organization Theory: From Chester Barnard to the Present and Beyond, Edited by Oliver Williamson, 116153. New York: Oxford University Press.
Moffitt, Susan L. 2010. Promoting Agency Reputation through Public Advice: Advisory Committee Use in the FDA. Journal of Politics 72 (3):880893.
Moffitt, Susan L. 2014. Making Policy Public. New York: Cambridge University Press.
O’Leary, Chris. 2015. Agency Termination in the UK: What Explains the ‘Bonfire of the Quangos’? West European Politics 38 (6):13271344.
Park, Sanghee. 2013. What Causes the Death of Public Sector Organizations? Understanding Structural Changes and Continuities in Korean Quangos. International Public Management Journal 16 (3):413437.
Pennock, J. Roland. 1952. Responsiveness, Responsibility, and Majority Rule. American Political Science Review 46 (3):790807.
Piotrowski, Suzanne J. 2008. Governmental Transparency In The Path Of Administrative Reform. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
Powell, G. Bingham. 1989. Constitutional Design and Citizen Electoral Control. Journal of Theoretical Politics 1 (2):107130.
Quinn, Thomas, Bara, Judith, and Bartle, John. 2011. The UK Coalition Agreement of 2010: Who Won? Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties 21 (2):295312.
Rehfeld, Andrew. 2009. Representation Rethought: On Trustees, Delegates, and Gyroscopes in the Study of Political Representation and Democracy. American Political Science Review 103 (2):214230.
Rogers, Richard. 2010. Seven Days: BONFIRE OF THE QUANGOS: Shock and Awe at the Names of Tinder for the Civil Pyre. The Observer, 17 October 2010.
Ruder, Alex I. 2015. Agency Design, Mass Media, and the Blame for Agency Scandals. Presidential Studies Quarterly 45 (3):514539.
Stott, Tony. 1995. ‘Snouts in the Trough’: The Politics of Quangos. Parliamentary Affairs 48 (2):323340.
Strøm, Kaare. 1990. Minority Government and Majority Rule. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Van Thiel, Sandra. 2004. Trends in the Public Sector: Explaining the Increased Use of Quasi-Autonomous Bodies in Policy Implementation. Journal of Theoretical Politics 16 (2):175201.
Volkens, Andrea, Lehmann, Pola, Merz, Nicolas, Regel, Sven, Werner, Annika, Lacewell, Onawa P., and Henrike, Schultze. 2013. The Manifesto Data Collection. Manifesto Project (MRG/CMP/MARPOR). Version 2013b . Berlin: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung.
Weaver, R. Kent. 1986. The Politics of Blame Avoidance. Journal of Public Policy 6 (4):371398.
Wilks, Stephen, and Bartle, Ian. 2002. The Unanticipated Consequences of Creating Independent Competition Agencies. West European Politics 25 (1):148172.
Yackee, Jason Webb, and Yackee, Susan Webb. 2006. A Bias Toward Business? Assessing Interest Group Influence on the Bureaucracy. Journal of Politics 68:128139.
Yesilkagit, Kutsal. 2014. There is More Than Life and Death: A Competing Risks Approach to Agency Duration. Paper Prepared for the 2014 SOG Conference ‘What Makes Agencies Tick’, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, 5–7 January 2014.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

Bertelli and Sinclair supplementary material
Online Appendix

 Word (39 KB)
39 KB
UNKNOWN
Supplementary materials

Bertelli and Sinclair Dataset
Dataset

 Unknown

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed