Slow-Rolling, Fast-Tracking, and the Pace of Bureaucratic Decisions in Rulemaking

51 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2016

Date Written: April 4, 2016

Abstract

The slow pace of administrative action is arguably a defining characteristic of modern bureaucracy. The reasons proffered for delay are numerous, often centering on procedural hurdles or bureaucrats' ineptitude. I offer a different perspective on delay in one important bureaucratic venue: the federal rulemaking process. I argue that agencies can speed up (fast-track) or slow down (slow-roll) the rulemaking process in order to undermine political oversight provided by Congress, the president, and the courts. That is, when the political climate is favorable agencies rush to lock in a rule, but when it is less favorable they "wait out" the tenure of current political overseers. I find empirical support for this proposition using an event history analysis of more than 9,600 agency rules from 147 agencies. The results support the interpretation that agencies strategically delay, and that delay is not simply evidence of increased bureaucratic effort.

Keywords: separation of powers, regulation, bureaucratic autonomy, delay

JEL Classification: D73, D78

Suggested Citation

Potter, Rachel Augustine, Slow-Rolling, Fast-Tracking, and the Pace of Bureaucratic Decisions in Rulemaking (April 4, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2759117 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2759117

Rachel Augustine Potter (Contact Author)

University of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.augustinepotter.com

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
135
Abstract Views
1,084
rank
274,374
PlumX Metrics