The Ground Floor of Government in Context
Edited by Peter Hupe
Chapter 8: Discrimination and representation in street-level bureaucracies
From its very beginning, street-level bureaucracy scholarship has been engaged in inequality in decision-making. Street-level research shows how street-level bureaucrats use stereotypes related to citizen-clients’ background characteristics, such as social class and ethnicity, to make decisions. Within street-level bureaucracy literature, there is however little insight into how street-level bureaucrats’ own background characteristics may affect their use of stereotypes in decision-making. The representative bureaucracy literature does focus on this link between officials’ background and decision-making regarding minority groups: it focuses on how officials representing a minority group make decisions that favour minority interests. This chapter contributes to street-level bureaucracy research on stereotyping by paying attention to possible mechanisms that may explain how officials’ background may affect the decision-making regarding citizen-clients from minority groups.
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