- The Oxford Handbooks of political science
- About the Contributors
- Elaborating the “New Institutionalism”
- Rational Choice Institutionalism
- Historical Institutionalism
- Constructivist Institutionalism
- Network Institutionalism
- Old Institutionalisms
- The State and State-Building
- Development of Civil Society
- Economic Institutions
- Exclusion, Inclusion, and Political Institutions
- Analyzing Constitutions
- Comparative Constitutions
- American Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations
- Comparative Federalism
- Territorial Institutions
- Executives—The American Presidency
- Executives In Parliamentary Government
- Comparative Executive–Legislative Relations
- Public Bureaucracies
- The Welfare State
- The Regulatory State?
- Legislative Organization
- Comparative Legislative Behavior
- Comparative Local Governance
- Judicial Institutions
- The Judicial Process and Public Policy
- Political Parties In and Out of Legislatures
- Electoral Systems
- Direct Democracy
- International Political Institutions
- International Security Institutions: Rules, Tools, Schools, or Fools?
- International Economic Institutions
- International NGOs
- Encounters With Modernity
- About Institutions, Mainly, but not Exclusively, Political
- Thinking Institutionally
- Political Institutions—Old and New
- Name Index
- Subject Index
Abstract and Keywords
This article looks at public bureaucracies, which are considered to be the locus of government action. It examines three key puzzles. The first is that bureaucratic actions are the locus of governmental power. The second is that much of the work of bureaucracy happens through the coordination of complex activities. The third puzzle shows that such power is important for democratic government, both to protect it from forces that try to destroy it and to empower it to do what the people want to be done. The article also includes a section on the challenges for public bureaucracies and the impulse for reform.
Donald F. Kettl is Director of the Fels Institute of Government and Stanley I. Sheer Endowed Chair in the Social Sciences at University of Pennsylvania.
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