we study how public administration comes to terms with democratic values and conveys the power of the state.

can public
make democracy
work better?

We know that constitutions enshrine the democratic values of a state. We know that laws give public servants the discretion to shape public policies.

We know much less about how that same discretion articulates the democratic values of the state.

Managing the public space implies extending or limiting the rights and privileges of individuals and groups.

Most theories of administrative policymaking in democracies consider the relationship between elected officials and public servants.

Laws leave degrees of discretion to the latter, which allows for the development and deployment of experience.

A public servant thought that too many pedestrians walking over the grass was a problem and erected a fence to protect it.

does public
democratic values?

We study value trade-offs at the margin of administrative discretion — that is, how officials use their own judgment, within the limits of their legal roles, to articulate democratic values.
These officers decide who enters the municipal office next according to appointment times and order of arrival, unless there are other considerations. What are those considerations and what values underlie them?
Administrative discretion allows these political graffiti to be erased or to remain in place. Values such as freedom of expression and pluralism are shaped by that discretionary choice.

REPGOV’s fundamental hypothesis is that the structures of public administration reinforce the values of the representative governments they serve.

They do this by shaping the attitudes of both administrators and the public about those values.