Delegating to the Quango: Ex Ante and Ex Post Ministerial Constraints
37 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2005
Date Written: February 4, 2005
This paper examines the contemporary formal theory of delegation in the environment of quasi-governmental, special purpose bodies (SPBs). Better known as "quangos", these agencies present a challenge for the theory of delegation, since their tasks are often comprised of routine administration, such as the distribution of benefits and the collection of user fees, rather than more politically salient policymaking. Do (spatial) policy conflict and legislative capacity effect the conditions under which authority is delegated to quangos? What effect do "good government" ideology and legislative capacity have on the presence of ex ante and ex post control over quangos? These questions are theoretically framed by the hidden action problem particularly acute in the case of quangos. Theoretical predictions are examined with data from a study of Dutch public bodies by the Netherlands Court of Audit and as well as issue scales from the Manifesto Research Group. Multinomial logit statistical models produce evidence that though policy conflict and legislative capacity measures affect the probabilities of enacting both ex ante and ex post controls, their contributions to ex post measures, as expected in the presence of important hidden action incentives, are much stronger.
Keywords: delegation, quasigovernment, special purpose body, agency
JEL Classification: H11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation