Deliberate Discretion?: The Institutional Foundations of Bureaucratic Autonomy

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Cambridge University Press, Sep 2, 2002 - Juvenile Nonfiction - 284 pages
The laws that legislatures adopt provide a crucial opportunity for elected politicians to define public policy. But the ways politicians use laws to shape policy vary considerably across polities. In some cases, legislatures adopt detailed and specific laws in an effort to micromanage policymaking processes. In others, they adopt general and vague laws that leave the executive and bureaucrats substantial discretion to fill in the policy details. What explains these differences across political systems, and how do they matter? The authors address these issues by developing and testing a comparative theory of how laws shape bureaucratic autonomy. Drawing on a range of evidence from advanced parliamentary democracies and the U.S. States, they argue that particular institutional forms--such as the nature of electoral laws, the structure of the legal system, and the professionalism of the legislature--have a systematic and predictable effect on how politicians use laws to shape the policymaking process.
 

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Contents

LAWS BUREAUCRATIC AUTONOMY AND THE COMPARATIVE STUDY OF DELEGATION
1
RATIONAL DELEGATION OR HELPLESS ABDICATION? THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BUREAUCRATS AND POLITICIANS
17
STATUTES AS BLUEPRINTS FOR POLICYMAKING
44
A COMPARATIVE THEORY OF LEGISLATION DISCRETION AND THE POLICYMAKING PROCESS
78
LEGISLATION AGENCY POLICYMAKING AND MEDICAID IN MICHIGAN
109
THE DESIGN OF LAWS ACROSS SEPARATION OF POWERS SYSTEMS
139
THE DESIGN OF LAWS ACROSS PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEMS
171
LAWS INSTITUTIONS AND POLICYMAKING PROCESSES
210
MMC LAWS USED IN CHAPTER 3
231
POLICY CATEGORIES USED FOR MMC LAWS IN CHAPTER 3
233
PROCEDURAL CATEGORIES USED FOR MMC LAWS IN CHAPTER 3
238
THE FORMAL MODEL OF DISCRETION
242
References
259
Author Index
275
Subject Index
279
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