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 26: What we know about the interaction between politics and administrationin the policy-making process

Sean Nicholson-Crotty and Sean Webeck

Abstract

While students of public administration know a good deal about the role of bureaucratic discretion in the implementation of policy and about the ability of elected officials to influence bureaucratic behavior, less attention has been given to the influence that bureaucratic actors have on the formulation of policy. This chapter highlights some of the work in this area, providing a way forward for practitioners and scholars alike. It builds off previous research to highlight three mechanisms through which bureaucrats might influence the formulation of policy, including policy expertise, clientele and public support, and the role of bureaucrats as anchors in policy networks and advocacy coalitions. The authors also discuss the ways in which policy type, policy subsystems, and the level of government may condition these avenues of bureaucratic influence.

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