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date: 20 October 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines to what extent agency rulemaking is democratic. It identifies four major theoretical approaches to administrative rulemaking: the unitary executive theory, emphasizing presidential control and accountability; the structure and process school of thought, emphasizing congressional control; the insulation perspective, holding that the public interest and democratic values are often best advanced by limiting political control over administrative agencies; and the deliberative perspective, arguing that rulemaking is the “best hope” for achieving a vision of deliberative democracy. Each theory is evaluated in light of two normative benchmarks: a “democratic” benchmark based on voter preferences, and a “republican” benchmark based on the preferences of elected representatives. It then evaluates how the empirical evidence lines up in light of these two approaches. The chapter concludes with a discussion of avenues for future research.

Keywords: agency rulemaking, republican, voter preferences, democratic, elected representatives, democratic legitimacy, bureaucracy

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