The third paper from my pillar of the Shrinking the State project, funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council, has now been accepted for publication. Democratic Accountability and the Politics of Mass Administrative Reorganization written with my NYU Wagner colleague Andy Sinclair will appear in the British Journal of Political Science. Here’s the abstract:
Governments face different incentives when they reorganize many administrative agencies at one time rather than making infrequent, case-by-case changes. Our theory of mass administrative reorganizations posits that their politics is focused on government accountability for policymaking. Viewing mass reorganization as a structured decision, we argue that choices about independence, agency organization, and functional disposition have different impacts on the political costs of administrative policymaking. Analyzing novel data from a recent British reorganization with sequential logistic statistical models provides substantial support for our claims. Our study challenges the focus on organizational survival in the existing literature. By eschewing more fundamental political questions of democratic accountability, the prevailing approach masks essential politics, and in our data, all influence of conflict due to party and agency policy positions.