Politics, Bureaucracy, and Successful Governance: The Problem of Political Failure

41 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2018

See all articles by Kenneth J. Meier

Kenneth J. Meier

American University; Cardiff University; Leiden University - Institute of Public Administration

Mallory Compton

Texas A&M University - George Bush School of Government and Public Service; Utrecht University

John Polga-Hecimovich

United States Naval Academy - Department of Political Science

Miyeon Song

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers University, Newark

Cameron Wimpy

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Date Written: October 17, 2018

Abstract

Bureaucratic reforms worldwide seek to improve the quality of governance. In this article, we argue that the major governance failures are political, not bureaucratic, and the first step to better governance is to recognize the underlying political causes. Using illustrations from throughout the world, we contend that political institutions fail to provide clear policy goals, rarely allocate adequate resources to deal with the scope of the problems, and do not allow the bureaucracy sufficient autonomy in implementation. Rational bureaucratic responses to these problems, in turn, create additional governance problems that could have been avoided if political institutional performance abetted bureaucratic goals.

Suggested Citation

Meier, Kenneth J. and Compton, Mallory and Polga-Hecimovich, John and Song, Miyeon and Wimpy, Cameron, Politics, Bureaucracy, and Successful Governance: The Problem of Political Failure (October 17, 2018). American University School of Public Affairs Research Paper No. 3268959, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3268959 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3268959

Kenneth J. Meier (Contact Author)

American University ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

Cardiff University ( email )

Aberconway Building
Colum Drive
Cardiff, Wales CF10 3EU
United Kingdom

Leiden University - Institute of Public Administration ( email )

P.O. Box 13228
Den Haag, 2501 EE
Netherlands

Mallory Compton

Texas A&M University - George Bush School of Government and Public Service ( email )

TAMU 4220
1004 George Bush Dr West
College Station, TX 77843
United States

Utrecht University ( email )

Vredenburg 138
Utrecht, 3511 BG
Netherlands

John Polga-Hecimovich

United States Naval Academy - Department of Political Science ( email )

Annapolis, MD
United States
410-293-2996 (Phone)

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

Miyeon Song

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers University, Newark ( email )

180 University Avenue
Newark, NJ 07102
United States

Cameron Wimpy

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

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