Power, Legitimacy and Performance
Edited by B. Guy Peters, Patrick von Maravić and Eckhard Schröter
Chapter 5: Representative bureaucracy in a cross-national context: politics, identity, structure and discretion
Although representative bureaucracy has been studied in numerous countries, one aspect of that literature, the empirical linkage between passive representation and active representation has been based almost exclusively on examples from the United States. Because this passive to active linkage serves as a major normative justification for representative bureaucracy, whether the US findings can be generalized to other countries is an important policy and scholarly question. The purpose of this chapter is to elucidate the theory of representative bureaucracy to set up a template for how studies could be implemented in a variety of national contexts. The focus will be on the concept “identity”, a term that includes individual characteristics such as race, ethnicity, and gender; characteristics that are difficult for an individual to change in the short run and that are often highly visible. The current effort draws from two prior theoretical efforts (Meier, 1993c; Keiser et al., 2002) that attempted to specify the theoretical relationships precisely and extends this work to a cross-national context. The literature on representative bureaucracy distinguishes between passive and active representation. A bureaucracy is representative in the passive sense if the bureaucracy has the same characteristics as the population on the variables of interest (e.g. race, ethnicity, social class, gender, etc.; see Mosher, 1968). In fact, passive representation is sometimes called symbolic representation because it defines representation as “standing for” (Pitkin, 1967).
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.