Political Leadership and Bureaucratic Autonomy: Effects of Agencification
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Previous studies have shown that agencification tends to reduce political control within a government portfolio. However, doubts have been raised as regards the robustness of these findings. In this article we document that agency officials pay significantly less attention to signals from executive politicians than their counterparts within ministerial (cabinet-level) departments. This finding holds when we control for variation in tasks, the political salience of issue areas and officials’ rank. Simultaneously we observe that the three control variables all have an independent effect on officials’ attentiveness to a steer from above. In addition we find that the more organizational capacity available within the respective ministerial departments, the more agency personnel tend to assign weight to signals from the political leadership. We apply large-N questionnaire data at three points in time; spanning two decades and shifting administrative doctrines.
Submitted version of an article published in the journal: Governance Published version available from Wiley-Blackwell: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0491.2009.01458.x