Policy Implementation, Street-Level Bureaucracy and the Importance of Discretion

Public Management Review, 2014, 16(4), 527-547

27 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2013 Last revised: 14 Apr 2014

See all articles by Lars Tummers

Lars Tummers

Utrecht University

V.J.J.M. Bekkers

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Public Administration

Abstract

Street-level bureaucrats implementing public policies have a certain degree of autonomy – or discretion – in their work. Following Lipsky, discretion has received wide attention in the policy implementation literature. However, scholars have not developed theoretical frameworks regarding the effects of discretion, which were then tested these using large samples. This study therefore develops a theoretical framework regarding two main effects of discretion: client meaningfulness and willingness to implement. The relationships are tested using a survey among 1,300 healthcare professionals implementing a new policy. The results underscore the importance of discretion. Implications of the findings and a future research agenda is shown.

Keywords: Public policy, Discretion, Policy implementation, Street-level bureaucracy, Quantitative analysis

JEL Classification: D73, D78, J2, J28, J58, J68, M12, M00, M12, O2, O32, O3

Suggested Citation

Tummers, Lars and Bekkers, V.J.J.M., Policy Implementation, Street-Level Bureaucracy and the Importance of Discretion. Public Management Review, 2014, 16(4), 527-547, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2289338

Lars Tummers (Contact Author)

Utrecht University ( email )

Vredenburg 138
Utrecht, 3511 BG
Netherlands

V.J.J.M. Bekkers

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Public Administration ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, 3062
Netherlands

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