Here you can find the research outputs of the project as well as some publications that the Principal Investigator and members of the team have written in the past and are relevant to this project.
Anthony M. Bertelli, Lindsey J. Schwartz
This short book argues for a complementarity principle – governance values should complement political values – as a guide for designing the structures and procedures of public administration. It argues that the value-congruity inherent in the complementarity principle is indispensable to administrative responsibility. It identifies several core democratic values and critically assesses systems of collaborative governance, representative bureaucracy, and participatory policymaking in light of those values. It shows that the complementarity principle, applied to these different designs, facilitates administrative responsibility by making the structures themselves more consistent with democratic principles without compromising their aims.
Eleanor Florence Woodhouse, Paolo Belardinelli, Anthony Michael Bertelli
How does the mode of public service delivery affect the attribution of responsibility for public goods? Through a survey experiment on a sample of more than 1,000 Americans, we provide evidence of how the allocation of public goods shapes voters’ support for incumbent politicians. We find that voters prefer a mixture of public–private financing and management when it comes to the delivery of infrastructure. However, once performance information is available, the mode of infrastructure delivery no longer influences their voting intention. The successful delivery of these infrastructure projects is what ultimately matters to voters. Moreover, this preference for a mixture of public and private involvement in public service delivery is stronger among citizens with high political knowledge, who are more likely to punish the incumbent for a failed first phase of the public service delivery. These findings deepen our understanding of how hybrid forms of public service delivery are perceived by voters and how performance information affects evaluations of the performance of public services and politicians alike.
Anthony Michael Bertelli
How does representative government function when public administration can reshape democracy? The traditional narrative of public administration balances the accountability of managers, a problem of control, with the need for effective administration, a problem of capability. The discretion modern governments give to administrators allows them to make tradeoffs among democratic values. This book challenges the traditional view with its argument that the democratic values of administration should complement the democratic values of the representative government within which they operate. Control, capability and value reinforcement can render public administration into democracy administered. This book offers a novel framework for empirically and normatively understanding how democratic values have, and should be, reinforced by public administration. Bertelli’s theoretical framework provides a guide for managers and reformers alike to chart a path toward democracy administered.
Anthony M. Bertelli, Silvia Cannas
Despite numerous attempts to define the core traits of co-production, it remains an heterogeneous concept. Building upon existing literature, we engage in legal reasoning to identify the co-producer, especially in those cases where she does not directly benefit from the service being co-produced. Introducing and relying on the concept of proximity, we argue that co-production should be centred in an administrative citizenship, which associates residence within a community with a set of rights and duties towards the public administration. Among those obligations, participation in co-production is a pathway towards active citizenship. We justify why co-production can be non-voluntary, or compelled by law to realise public interests. Yet we caution that co-production as a management scheme requires flexibility, and embedding it too strictly within a legal framework can diminish its effectiveness.
Christopher Kam, Anthony M. Bertelli, Alexander Held
Electoral accountability requires that voters have the ability to constrain the incumbent government’s policy-making power. We express the necessary conditions for this claim as an accountability identity in which the electoral system and the party system interact to shape the accountability of parliamentary governments. Data from 400 parliamentary elections between 1948 and 2012 show that electoral accountability is contingent on the party system’s bipolarity, for example, with parties arrayed in two distinct blocs. Proportional electoral systems achieve accountability as well as majoritarian ones when bipolarity is strong but not when it is weak. This is because bipolarity decreases the number of connected coalitions that incumbent parties can join to preserve their policy-making power. Our results underscore the limitations that party systems place on electoral reform and the benefits that bipolarity offers for clarifying voters’ choices and intensifying electoral competition.
Anthony M. Bertelli, Gregg G. Van Ryzin
Abstract: A growing body of empirical work suggests that identifying the actors formally tasked with implementing policy can focus attention away from incumbent politicians. We examine the effects on blame attribution and voting intention of (a) the identifiability of a responsible policy worker (administrator), and (b) the evaluability of the policy work or outcome (policy failure), in the context of programs at two federal agencies (loans by the Small Business Administration and inspections by the U.S. Department of Agriculture). Using a set of online survey experiments with 1105 US adults, we find that the evaluability of a (negative) outcome generally reduces voting intention, but that the identifiability of a policy worker (administrator) tends to shift blame away from the incumbent politician and thus to increase voting intention. These experimental findings provide at least partial support for our theoretical expectations.
Anthony Michael Bertelli, Giulia Leila Travaglini, Pamela J. Clouser McCann
Although Congress often uses grants and other fiscal incentives when delegating policy to the states, it also incorporates nonfiscal arrangements, or joint partnerships, into legislation. These partnerships include joint state-federal oversight boards, intergovernmental task forces, as well as other nondistributive programs and services. We examine the conditions under which Congress chooses to increase joint partnerships in a formal model of intergovernmental delegation and test the implications of the model on federal laws from 1973 to 2010. We argue with evidence that Congress may rely on collaborative nonfiscal partnerships with states and localities when technical uncertainty increases but is less likely to do so when political uncertainty rises. Our theory extends existing models of delegation to provide an important step toward a broader theory of legislatively designed collaborative governance.
Anthony M Bertelli, J. Andrew Sinclair
Governments face different incentives when they reorganize many administrative agencies at one time rather than making infrequent, case-by-case changes. This article develops a theory of mass administrative reorganizations, which posits that the politics of reorganization is focused on government accountability. Viewing mass reorganization as a structured decision, it argues that choices about independence, agency organization and functional disposition have different impacts on the political costs of administrative policy making. Analyzing novel data from a recent British reorganization with sequential logistic statistical models provides substantial support for these claims. The study challenges the focus on organizational survival in the existing literature. By eschewing more fundamental political questions of democratic accountability, the prevailing approach masks essential politics, and in the context of this study, all influence of conflict due to party and agency policy positions.
Anthony M. Bertelli, Madalina Busuioc
We explore the democratic implications of a reputational account of bureaucratic authority. While an influential literature has examined the relevance of reputation—and mutual exchange between principals and agents in public organizations generally—the normative implications of these insights have largely escaped scrutiny. We discuss how reputation-building impacts both the ability and the motivation of principals to oversee administrative policymaking. We argue that reputation-sourced authority eschews ex ante incentives through the claims-making and maneuvering of bureaucrats as they develop reputations with audiences. At the same time, it de-legitimizes ex post oversight because monitoring and compliance must compete both with reputational authority and with resistance from the audiences that are the very sources of such authority.
Anthony M. Bertelli
Two critical questions for the study of accountability in contemporary governance focus attention on the citizen rather than the official: (a) whether a citizen can identify a policy worker, that is, the bureaucrat, contractor, or other actor acting in pursuit of a legislated policy goal, and (b) whether a citizen can evaluate policy work that is done to further a legislated policy goal. Both identification and evaluation prove tricky to assess in a great deal of policy work, rendering accountability an important, but elusive, democratic value. This article provides a framework for analysts to understand when and why accountability works from a citizen’s perspective and what incentives policy workers and politicians have when it does.
Anthony Bertelli, Peter John
This book addresses one of the enduring questions of democratic government: why do governments choose some public policies but not others? Political executives focus on a range of policy issues, such as the economy, social policy, and foreign policy, but they shift their priorities over time. Despite an extensive literature, it has proven surprisingly hard to explain policy prioritisation. To remedy this gap, this book offers a new approach called public policy investment: governments enhance their chances of getting re-elected by managing a portfolio of public policies and paying attention to the risks involved. In this way, government is like an investor making choices about risk to yield returns on its investments of political capital. The public provides signals about expected political capital returns for government policies, or policy assets, that can be captured through expressed opinion in public polls. Governments can anticipate these signals in the choices they make. Statecraft is the ability political leaders have to consider risk and return in their policy portfolios and do so amidst uncertainty in the public’s policy valuation. Such actions represent the public’s views conditionally because not every opinion change is a price signal. It then outlines a quantitative method for measuring risk and return, applying it to the case of Britain between 1971 and 2000 and offers case studies illustrating statecraft by prime ministers, such as Edward Heath or Margaret Thatcher. The book challenges comparative scholars to apply public policy investment to countries that have separation of powers, multiparty government, and decentralization.
Anthony M. Bertelli, Laurence E. Lynn, Jr.
An unresolved issue in American constitutional governance is the role of public officials in a Madisonian scheme of separated institutions sharing power. Proposed answers range from broad delegation with reliance on expertise and professionalism to minimal delegation with formal checks on official discretion. In between are various pragmatic or realist views that accept discretion as both necessary and inevitable and offer normative principles of administrative conduct to guard against official abuse of power. None of these answers, however, satisfies criteria of constitutional legitimacy. The authors argue that such criteria can be derived by combining insights from traditional, normative literatures of public administration and from positive political theory and political economics. If the role of public managers is defined as maintaining a credible commitment to performing their duties pursuant to a precept of managerial responsibility that incorporates accountability, judgment, balance, and rationality, then, the authors argue, the Madisonian scheme of government embraced in the Constitution is complete.
Anthony M. Bertelli, E. Jr. Lynn
Combining insights from traditional thought and practice and from contemporary political analysis, Madison’s Managers presents a constitutional theory of public administration in the United States. Anthony Michael Bertelli and Laurence E. Lynn Jr. contend that managerial responsibility in American government depends on official respect for the separation of powers and a commitment to judgment, balance, rationality, and accountability in managerial practice.
The authors argue that public management—administration by unelected officials of public agencies and activities based on authority delegated to them by policymakers—derives from the principles of American constitutionalism, articulated most clearly by James Madison. Public management is, they argue, a constitutional institution necessary to successful governance under the separation of powers. To support their argument, Bertelli and Lynn combine two intellectual traditions often regarded as antagonistic: modern political economy, which regards public administration as controlled through bargaining among the separate powers and organized interests, and traditional public administration, which emphasizes the responsible implementation of policies established by legislatures and elected executives while respecting the procedural and substantive rights enforced by the courts. These literatures are mutually reinforcing, the authors argue, because both feature the role of constitutional principles in public management.
Madison’s Managers challenges public management scholars and professionals to recognize that the legitimacy and future of public administration depend on its constitutional foundations and their specific implications for managerial practice.
Anthony M. Bertelli, Laurence E. Lynn
The concept of managerial responsibility is a shining thread in the literature of public administration, but its definition within our constitutional scheme remains elusive. How will we know responsible public management when we see it? We propose one answer: Public administration should be conducted according to what we term a “precept of managerial responsibility,” which involves four interrelated elements derived from the classical literature of public administration: judgment, accountability, balance, and rationality. We apply this precept to one of the most vexing problems of public administration theory and practice, institutional reform litigation. This application illustrates how the precept solves a major theoretical problem of American public administration by defining a role for administrative officers that fully comports with the Madisonian scheme of separated institutions—legislative, executive, and judicial—sharing power.