The Role of Political Ideology in the Structural Design of New Governance Agencies

Public Administration Review, Forthcoming

41 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2005

See all articles by Anthony M. Bertelli

Anthony M. Bertelli

Pennsylvania State University; Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals - IBEI


This paper employs theories of structural politics and delegation to develop a set of theoretical propositions about legislative delegations of authority to quasigovernmental entities, operating more or less at arms length from political authorities. Legislators have the incentive to condition their choice of the structure of an organization they charge with implementing a policy on their own political attitudes toward good government. The quasi-independence of quangos provides credibility for legislators to commit to a process that takes policymaking out of their hands, while still creating a structure that increases the expected likelihood of achieving their policy goals. Theoretical implications are empirically examined using data on the financial autonomy of Dutch public bodies. The results support the theoretical argument that it is very important to consider politicians' ideologies directly in governance studies as they form the key component of structural politics.

Keywords: public management, arms-length governance

JEL Classification: H11

Suggested Citation

Bertelli, Anthony M., The Role of Political Ideology in the Structural Design of New Governance Agencies. Public Administration Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Anthony M. Bertelli (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

University Park, PA 16802-3306
United States


Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals - IBEI ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005

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