Comparative Administrative Law and Public Administration
Oxford Handbook of Comparative Administrative Law, Forthcoming
30 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2019
Date Written: November 12, 2019
The purpose of this chapter is to explore, critically and systematically, contemporary public administration scholarship as it pertains to national administrative law. To be clear from the outset, our aim is not to examine legal scholarship about public administration, but, rather, to understand how contemporary public administration scholarship thinks about administrative law. The studies we review — which we call bureau-centric (following Bertelli 2005, 135) — focus on the interaction of government agencies with politicians as well as with organized (e.g., business interests) and unorganized constituencies (e.g., social welfare benefit claimants). We conducted a systematic literature review to assess the current distribution of this bureau-centric literature in leading international public administration outlets, learning four things from the exercise. First, from the perspective of bureau-centric studies, the role of administrative law is to constrain particularistic behavior of administrative officials as they interact with organized constituencies, though the literature takes opposing views on the effectiveness of the law in doing this. Second, these studies tend to view the role of administrative law as shifting toward the promotion of a kind of pluralism as administrative officials interact with unorganized constituencies. Third, while the bureau-centric literature is robust within the confines of particular national administrative law systems, comparative studies are entirely absent from the important outlets we surveyed. Fourth, the American case dominates the literature in leading international public administration outlets, which did not reveal any study that compares, for instance, how administrative law differs in its bureau-centric implications across civilian and common law systems. We consider this a missed opportunity and offer an agenda for future research that might begin to remedy this situation.
Keywords: administrative law, public administration, particularism, universalism
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation