A controversial, yet worthwhile contribution to the study of administrative politics. . . . Merits serious attention by scholars and practitioners interested in public administration, public policy, and American politics.
The bureaucracy in the United States has a hand in almost all aspects of our lives, from the water we drink to the parts in our cars. For a force so influential and pervasive, however, this body of all nonelective government officials remains an enigmatic, impersonal entity.
The literature of bureaucratic theory is rife with contradictions and mysteries. Bureaucrats, Politics, and the Environment attempts to clarify some of these problems.
The authors surveyed the workers at two agencies: enforcement personnel from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and employees of the New Mexico Environment Department. By examining what they think about politics, the environment, their budgets, and the other institutions and agencies with which they interact, this work puts a face on the bureaucracy and provides an explanation for its actions.
Drives a stake through the heart of simplistic applications of agency theory and assumptions of budget-maximizing behavior while offering a far more sophisticated portrayal of the complex set of factors that shape regulation.
The book's strength is its thoughtful challenge to conventional theories. . . . [It] provides a research agenda that will keep scholars for many years. . . . Readers uncomfortable with simplistic understandings of public bureaucracies will cherish this book.
A well-written and well-argued book that gives an excellent review of existing bureaucratic theory . . . an important theoretical and empirical baseline study.