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
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: Suggested Citation