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Bureaucratic interactions, from the implementation gap to the implementation trick - Vincent Dubois


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I Seminário Brasileiro sobre Implementação de Políticas Públicas.

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Bureaucratic interactions, from the implementation gap to the implementation trick - Vincent Dubois

  1. 1. Bureaucratic interactions, from the implementation gap to the implementation trick Vincent Dubois Université de Strasbourg, France, SAGE UMR 7363 I Seminário Brasileiro sobre implementação de Políticas Públicas Enap, Brasilia, 2018-03-20/21
  2. 2. Introduction: implementation is the continuation of decision by other means • A ‘continuist’ (vs. sequential) approach to policy-making challenging taken-for-granted distinctions (politics vs. technical, decision and ideas at the top vs. routine enforcement at the bottom, etc.) • Implementation matters: from the question of efficiency (does implementation work?) to the question of process (how does implementation work?) • Using sociological methods and framework in Public Administration and Policy Analysis • A focus on individual interaction (Goffman) • A focus on social welfare: encounters in welfare offices / surveillance policies
  3. 3. Why and when do interactions matter? • One-size-fits-all vs. tailored welfare • Definition of categories and criteria to be enforced • Supervision of low-ranking officials • Behavioral monitoring? • Situations and publics fit standard criteria or not —> In contemporary social welfare 4/5 of these criteria are met
  4. 4. The bureaucrat’s two bodies and the uses of discretion • Bringing Ernst Kantorowicz to the welfare office • Services depend on the characteristics of agents • Services depend on the characteristics of clients • Stating on individual situations and sorting people: translating lives into the language of files, including non-bureaucratic criteria —> A structural pattern of welfare administration, both functional and problematic
  5. 5. The implementation trick • The implementation gap implementers do not stick to the orientations decision-makers want them to follow this discrepancy between official policy and policy in practice is seen as a flaw • The implementation trick this discrepancy is known if not organized by higher-ranking “decision makers” they want a policy orientation they cannot politically endorse (double language) they organize the implementation process in a way that SLBs realize the unofficially desired policy orientation
  6. 6. The implementation trick example 1 the non-take up of minimum benefits (RSA) • up to 58% • launched during summer, with no additional staff • complexity of files and forms to be filled by individuals in precarious situations • no real policy to fight non-take up, as opposed to welfare fraud
  7. 7. The implementation trick example 2 immigration policy in practice (Alexis Spire) • official policy: balance between human rights and containment of migration flows; policy in practice more restrictive • three types of agents at the street-level with various social backgrounds and attitudes: the custodians of national order; the resistants; the pragmatists • the custodians of national order call the tune • a restrictive policy orientation, wanted but unofficial at the head of the state, made in practice at the street- level • high / low; center / periphery; political stage / behind the scenes
  8. 8. Conclusion • The implementation trick as a “Machiavellian” hypothesis which cannot be regarded as the general situation • draws the attention on the political and not only technical dimension of implementation • more generally, for research: studying policy in practice is useful in a critical and sociological perspective • for policy, organization and political purposes: recruitment of SLBs, concrete social conditions, and how citizens experience policy
  9. 9. Muito obrigado!