Handbook of American Public Administration
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Handbook of American Public Administration

Edited by Edmund C. Stazyk and H. G. Frederickson

The Handbook of American Public Administration draws on the expertise of established and emerging scholars to provide national and international audiences a comprehensive review of the current state and future direction of theory and practice in US public administration. The authors provide a cross-disciplinary, holistic review of the field and pave an agenda for future research.
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Chapter 4: Public administration as a function of executive and legislative power

William G. Resh and Haram Lee Zook

Abstract

In this chapter, we examine various perspectives of bureaucratic delegation and control in political science and public administration scholarship. Congress must (with notable exceptions) naturally defer power to the administrative state as a function of the complexity of modern policy demands and political polarization. Within this dynamic, presidents seek to substitute their policy judgment for that of the Congress, the judiciary, and the career bureaucracy through tools of the modern administrative presidency. At the same time, as substantive experts and legal authorities, career administrators and professionals in federal agencies and partnering organizations tasked with the responsibility of policy implementation can influence policy profoundly. In this chapter, we assess research that examines legislative and executive attempts to control bureaucratic behavior. We focus on the inherent dilemmas that emerge in terms of empirical evidence of the various claims put forward by this research and its implications in American constitutional governance.

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