The Suspect Handmaiden: The Evolution of Politics and Administration in the American State

Public Administration Review • December 2010

9 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2019

See all articles by Donald P. Moynihan

Donald P. Moynihan

Georgetown University - McCourt School of Public Policy

Patricia W. Ingraham

Binghamton University

Date Written: December 1, 2010

Abstract

Scholars of an earlier era predicted a more secure role for the administrative state in American political culture. This vision overlooked a historical irony that governs the relationship between politics and administration. For American society, the administrative state is a suspect handmaiden. Citizens have looked to public administration to enable extraordinary growth while simultaneously distrusting it. In recent decades, these contradictory trends have grown. The growth of the state, increased polarization, and political attacks on government have produced a set of values, perspectives, and capabilities that often do not mesh with one another or with many governmental activities. As a result, we find outdated mechanisms of accountability, politicization, and a broader illegitimacy that threatens the capacity of the state to act effectively.

Suggested Citation

Moynihan, Donald P. and Ingraham, Patricia W., The Suspect Handmaiden: The Evolution of Politics and Administration in the American State (December 1, 2010). Public Administration Review • December 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3492432 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3492432

Donald P. Moynihan (Contact Author)

Georgetown University - McCourt School of Public Policy ( email )

Old North, Suite 100
37th & O Streets NW
Washington, DC 20057
United States

Patricia W. Ingraham

Binghamton University ( email )

PO Box 6001
Binghamton, NY 13902-6000
United States

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