Higher Education

Politics and the Bureaucracy, 5th Edition

  • Kenneth J. Meier Texas A&M University
  • John Bohte University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • ISBN-10: 0495007471  |  ISBN-13: 9780495007470
  • 288 Pages
  • Previous Editions: 2000, 1993
  • © 2007 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $169.50



This best-selling textbook is unique because of its focus on the political side of bureaucracy. Presenting bureaucracy as a political institution, this book covers the controls on bureaucracy and how bureaucracy makes policy. It is known for its current survey of the political science literature and interesting topical examples and case studies.

Features and Benefits

  • The text includes an expansive list of citations, reflecting the most recent research on public bureaucracies, and serves as a useful reference for practitioners and students seeking a thorough overview of research on the federal bureaucracy.
  • Many examples reflect current political debates and their impact on federal agencies.
  • The text features ample coverage of key topics such as administrative ethics, political control of the bureaucracy, public choice models of bureaucratic politics, and state and local bureaucracies.

Table of Contents

Bureaucracy: A Favorite Target. Criticism and Rhetoric. Efficiency: An Untested Hypothesis. Is Efficiency a Goal? Administrative Power as Political Power. Case 1: Federal Housing. Case 2: The Cuban Missile Crisis. Case 3: The National Health Service Corps. Case 4: The Federal Trade Commission. Administrative Power: A Difficult Term. Summary.
The Organization of the Federal Government. Departments. Independent Agencies. The Government Corporation. The Advisory Committee. Minor Boards, Committees, and Commissions. The Political Bureaus of the President and Congress. The Size of the Bureaucracy. Budgetary Growth. The Federal Personnel System. The Career Civil Service. The Senior Executive Service. The Separate Merit Systems. The Excepted Service. The Executive Schedule. Dismissals. State and Local Bureaucracies. Implementation Networks. Summary.
A Framework for the Study of Bureaus. Why Bureaucracy Is a Policymaking Institution. The Nature of American Politics. The Organization of Government. Task Demands. The Nature of Bureaucracy''s Function. Sources of Bureau Power. External Sources of Bureaucratic Power: Political Support. Internal Sources of Bureau Power. Summary.
Regulatory Policy. The Scope of Regulatory Policy. Regulatory Bureau Policymaking. The Structure of Regulatory Agencies. The Environment of Regulatory Agencies. Redistributive Policy. The Scope of Redistributive Policy. The Structure of Redistributive Bureaus. Redistributive Bureau Policymaking. The Environment of Redistributive Agencies. Distributive Policy. The Scope of Distributive Policy. The Structure of Distributive Bureaus. Distributive Bureau Policymaking. The Environment of Distributive Agencies. Constituent Policy. The Scope of Constituent Policy. The Structure of Constituent Policy. Constituent Bureau Policymaking. The Environment of Constituent Policy Bureaus. Summary.
Two Standards for Bureaucracy. Responsiveness I: Political Institutions, the Public, Law. Responsiveness II: Flexibility. Responsiveness III: Ethics. Responsiveness IV: Fair and Impartial. Competence I: Effectiveness. Competence II: Timeliness. Competence III: Efficiency. Competence IV: Reliability. Whose Fault Is It?. The Problem of Political Executives. Summary.
Overhead Democracy. Legislative Controls on Bureaucratic Power. Legislation. Budgeting. Legislative Veto and Consultations. Oversight. Informal Contacts. Congressional Controls: Summary. Judicial Controls on Bureaucratic Power. Court Impact. Limits on Courts. Presidential Controls on Bureaucratic Power. Organizational Powers. Budget Powers. The Powers of Commander-in-Chief. Leadership. Restraints on Presidential Controls. Federalism as a Check on Bureaucracy. State Agencies as a Check on Federal Agencies. Federal Checks on State Bureaucracies. Federalism as a Check. The Ombudsman. Direct Democratic Control: Noncompliance. Summary.
The Administrative Platonist. The Fellowship of Science. The New Public Administration. Representative Bureaucracy . Participative Administration. Individual-Group Linkage. Group-Administrative Elite Linkage. Public Choice. Summary.
How Much Control Is Needed?. The Performance of American Bureaucracy. Redundancy: The Impact of Duplication. Strengthening Political Institutions. The President. Congress. The Courts. Interest Groups. Creating a Better Merit System. Reform Entrance Procedures and Educational Training. Raise the Prestige of the Civil Service. Increased Executive Mobility. Awakening the American People. Increase Public Awareness of Politics and Participation. Increase Public Awareness of Bureau Policy making. Eliminate the Stereotypes of Bureaucracy. End Passive Acceptance of Delay. Lower People''s Expectations of Government. A Hobson''s Choice.

What's New

  • Thorough updates of the material and examples include an expanded Chapter 3, which now includes both state and local bureaucracies in addition to federal.
  • Chapter 6 now includes a debate on whether political institutions can control the bureaucracy without harming it.
  • In Chapter 7, a new section on administrative ethics and public choice as a control on the bureaucracy has been added to give a more complete and realistic picture of the bureaucracy.
  • In addition, each chapter has been updated to reflect recent data and scholarship on the characteristics and performance of the federal bureaucracy.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Kenneth J. Meier

Kenneth J. Meier is the Charles H. Gregory Chair in Liberal Arts and Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Texas A&M University. He is also Professor of Public Management in the Cardiff School of Business, Cardiff University (Wales). He is a former editor of the AMERICAN JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE (1994–1997), a former associate editor of THE JOURNAL OF POLITICS (1991–1994), and the JOURNAL OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION RESEARCH AND THEORY (2000–2009). He served as the president of the Southwest Political Science Association; the American Political Science Associations sections on State Politics and Policy, Public Policy, and Public Administration; the Public Management Research Association; and the Midwest Political Science Association. In 2006, he received the John Gaus Award for career contributions to public administration scholarship; and in 2010, the C. Dwight Waldo Award from the American Society for Public Administration. He currently lives with the love of his life, Diane Jones Meier, in Bryan, Texas, and spends his free time comparing the merits of California zinfandels with Australian Shirazes.

John Bohte

John Bohte is currently Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (PhD, Texas A&M University). Dr. Bohte enjoys teaching courses on public budgeting, statistics, and state politics.