The Path Not Taken: Leonard White and the Macrodynamics of Administrative Development
Public Administration Review, Vol. 69, No. 4, pp. 764-775, July/August 2009
35 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2009 Last revised: 28 Apr 2010
Date Written: January 9, 2009
This is a review of four books by Leonard White: The Federalists (1948), The Jeffersonians (1951), The Jacksonians (1954), and The Republican Era (1958). In these books, White develops an approach to the study of administrative development which accounts for a broad range of considerations, including political and economic structure, the organization of the international order, popular culture, the stock of available communication and organizational technologies, and executive talent. White also offers an early argument about the significance of path dependence in institutional evolution. White's approach is largely concerned with the macrodynamics of administrative development. It has been neglected within the field of public administration over the last half-century. A literature that built on White's work would have improved the field's ability to anticipate and explain recent failures in state-building and administrative reform. This review received the Burchfield Award from Public Administration Review for 2009.
Keywords: public administration, administrative history, United States, Leonard White
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