The Constitution and Bureaucracy Bureaucracy An organization that is structured hierarchically to carry out specific functions A common view The Framers did not intend and had no role for a bureaucracy The Framers didn’t say we need the CIA, FBI, IRS, or DARPA They were never intended at the time of the Constitution Is this correct?
The Constitution and Bureaucracy Informational Function of the Executive Dept. Article 2, Section 2: “[the President] may require the Opinion in writing, of the principle Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices” What we know Executive Departments are established Heads of Departments offer opinions to the president They have duties, but they’re not defined in the Constitution
The Constitution and Bureaucracy Appointment Power Article 2, Section 2: “…the Congress may vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments Does the lack of mentioning specific executive departments mean that the Framers didn’t want (or think) any would be necessary?
The Constitution and Bureaucracy Federalist #72 – “The administration of government, in its largest sense, comprehends all the operations of the body politic, whether legislative, executive, or judiciary; but in its most usual and perhaps in its most precise signification, it is limited to executive details, and falls peculiarly within the province of the executive department” Aspects included Foreign negotiations Finance Application and disbursement of the public monies Operations of war
History of Bureaucratic Efficiency Patronage System (1829-1883) Members of winning parties typically would appoint their faithful constituents to government offices as a reward for their support (and monetary contributions) Andrew Jackson -- “To the victor go the spoils” Connected to political machines Strengthened parties Attracted more constituents Functioned as a tool of political control Still exists in some major cities
History of Bureaucratic Efficiency Civil Service Reform: The Pendleton Act (1883) An act that established the principle of employment on the basis of merit and created the Civil Service Commission Competitive exams for federal positions No dues-paying No campaigning for federal office (Hatch Act of 1939) No firing simply for political reasons Civil Service Problem De-politicization = insulation Difficult to hire and fire Overall – can the federal bureaucracy be efficient without politics?
The Modern Bureaucracy Types of Agencies Administrative agency Federal, state, or local government unit established to perform a specific function; typically used to enforce and administer specific laws Independent executive agencies Agency that is not part of the Cabinet but reports directly to the president CIA, NASA, EPA, SSA Independent regulatory agencies Agency outside the major executive departments; charged with making and implanting rules and regulations FTC, Federal Reserve System, FCC
Bureaucracy as a ModernOrganization Weberian model – model of bureaucracy developed by the German sociologist Max Weber, who viewed bureaucracies as rational, hierarchical organizations in which decisions are based on logical reasoning Fixed and official jurisdictions Clear distinction between superiors and subordinates Management based on written documents Management presupposes training (and/or education) Managing the office (department) is a full-time job Management by a set of rules Technical superiority leads to advancement of bureaucracy
Bureaucracy and Business Government Corporation Agency of government that administers a quasi-business enterprise Tennessee Valley Authority, U.S. Postal Service, FDIC Two approaches to governmental influence/interference with business: Nationalization Takeover of a business by the national government Ex. FDIC buying out a defaulting bank; the “great auto crisis” of 2008-09 Privatization Replacement of government services with services provided by private firms Ex. County prison systems; Blackwater security contracting in Iraq
Bureaucrats and Policy Dated theories of public administration hold that bureaucrats do not make policy, only implement it Modern views hold that agencies play an important role in the policy making process Congress makes a law and someone eventually has to turn it into concrete action; it’s best to consult with the people/group who will be carrying out the action The bureaucracy’s policymaking role can be depicted as: An Iron Triangle (dated) An Issue Network (modern)
Bureaucrats and Policy Iron Triangle (dated view) The three-way alliance among legislators, bureaucrats, and interest groups to make or preserve policies that benefit their respective interests Issue Network (modern view) A group of individuals or organizations that supports a particular policy position on a given issue May consist of legislators, staff, interest group leaders, bureaucrats, the media, scholars, and other experts
Theories on Bureaucratic Agencies Public Interest Regulation: Agencies neutrally follow the missions given to them Efficiencies: assumed to be efficient Pathologies: missions might be too broadly or narrowly drawn; resources may be insufficient Public Choice Regulation: agencies are captured by the very firms they regulate Efficiencies: responsiveness to a coalition of interests outside the agency Pathologies: special interest dominate; bureaucrats essentially become another special interest
Theories on Bureaucratic Agencies Reputation Regulation: based solely on agencies’ reputation Military, FDA Efficiencies: incentives to avoid errors; responsiveness to various constituencies Pathologies: high risk aversion; aversion to admission of mistakes Administrative justice over public legal disputes
Theories on Bureaucratic Agencies Example: Why did “unprofessional” military officers dominate Union Army leadership in the Civil War? Lincoln appointed “unprofessional” generals: Nathaniel Banks, Benjamin Butler, John Fremont, and John A. Logan Military schools (think West Point) did not yet have reputation for expertise and superior training This came around the time of the Spanish-American War Only in the 20th century do military academies gain superior reputation within the military, society, and political institutions
Theories on Bureaucratic Agencies Example: Why did the FDA accelerate drug approval in the latter part of the 20th century? 1980-2004: the average drug approval time falls by 60% or better 2.5 years to less than 1 year Public Choice theory: firms had been asking for acceleration all along Reputation theory: political organization of patients upset over long drug approval times and their ability to influence the media forced the FDA to respond What’s the better choice?
Helping Out the Bureaucracy Whistleblower An individual who brings to public attention gross governmental inefficiency or an illegal action Typically someone who works within the offending agency Civil Service reform in the 1970s and 198s encourages state and federal employees to report employer wrongdoing Some statutes offer monetary rewards False Claims Act of 1986 Problems Little evidence that whistleblowers actually receive protection Over 40% of whistleblowers report that they no longer work for the agency they reported