Working Smart and Hard? Agency Effort, Judicial Review, and Policy Precision

Turner, Ian R. 2017. "Working Smart and Hard? Agency Effort, Judicial Review, and Policy Precision." Journal of Theoretical Politics 29(1): 69-96.

52 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2013 Last revised: 9 Feb 2017

Date Written: February 8, 2017

Abstract

The lion's share of policy in the United States is made by administrative agencies. Agencies not only make policy choices, they must also implement policy effectively. Oversight institutions play an integral role in the policymaking process by monitoring, through review of agency policy actions, both policymaking tasks. Through analysis of a formal model I develop a theory of policymaking between agencies and courts and show that review can impact agency effort choices even when bureaucratic subversion is not a concern. At times the court has no impact on this effort and the agency is unconstrained. However, when the agency's effort dictates whether or not the court defers to the agency's actions judicial review does affect effort decisions. In this setting, review can either strengthen or, counter-intuitively, weaken agency effort incentives. Implications for executive and congressional oversight are discussed in light of these results.

Keywords: bureaucracy, judicial review, intergovernmental relations, policymaking, formal theory

JEL Classification: D73, D78, D81, D82, K23

Suggested Citation

Turner, Ian R., Working Smart and Hard? Agency Effort, Judicial Review, and Policy Precision (February 8, 2017). Turner, Ian R. 2017. "Working Smart and Hard? Agency Effort, Judicial Review, and Policy Precision." Journal of Theoretical Politics 29(1): 69-96.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2295665 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2295665

Ian R. Turner (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

115 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

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