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date: 16 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Studies of the Israeli public sector point to the vast influence of the Ministry of Finance (MOF) across multiple policy domains. This chapter combines bureaucratic politics research and the notion of veto players to theorize a two-tiered power game between bureaucratic and political players. It argues that the policy influence of bureaucracies is shaped by stable institutional factors and by the extent to which powerful politicians are inclined to intervene. In Israel, legal provisions vest the MOF with an institutional advantage over other bureaus and their ministers. Yet the MOF’s ability to exploit its advantaged position is contingent upon the joint propensity of the prime minister (PM) and the finance minister (FM) to forgo intervention. The chapter associates the PM’s and FM’s inclination to support the MOF with their political motivation to maintain their grip on the agenda of an increasingly fragmented coalition government. Thus, the MOF’s supremacy is reliant upon, and underpins, political power.

Keywords: bureaucratic politics, veto players, Ministry of Finance, political control, bureaucratic power

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