Research Handbook on Street-Level Bureaucracy
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Research Handbook on Street-Level Bureaucracy

The Ground Floor of Government in Context

Edited by Peter Hupe

When the objectives of public policy programmes have been formulated and decided upon, implementation seems just a matter of following instructions. However, it is underway to the realization of those objectives that public policies get their final substance and form. Crucial is what happens in and around the encounter between public officials and individual citizens at the street level of government bureaucracy. This Research Handbook addresses the state of the art while providing a systematic exploration of the theoretical and methodological issues apparent in the study of street-level bureaucracy and how to deal with them.
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Chapter 30: The ground floor of government in context: An agenda for street-level bureaucracy research

Peter Hupe


This chapter provides reflections on some pertinent issues and an agenda for future research. First, the empirical object of the study of street-level bureaucracy is restated. What can be said now about the question ‘who are these street-level bureaucrats’ and what does this mean for further research? Next, the issues of scope and generalization are revisited. In what directions can appropriate links be made to knowledge and insights from beyond the field of street-level bureaucracy research? And how can generalization capture ‘the bigger picture’? After reflections on these issues and their implications for a research strategy, the substance of a future research agenda is addressed. The relations between the state of the art and the (meta) developments identified point to the need for more empirical and comparative approaches to both accountability and professionalism.

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