I am delighted to announce that my new book, Democracy Administered: How Public Administration Shapes Representative Governance, will be published in July 2021 by Cambridge University Press. How does representative government function when public administration can reshape democracy? I argue that the traditional narrative of public administration balances the accountability of managers, a problem of control, with the need for effective administration, a problem of capability. Still, the discretion modern governments give to administrators allows them to make tradeoffs among democratic values.
My book challenges the traditional view with an argument that the democratic values of administration should complement the democratic values of the representative government within which they operate. Control, capability and value reinforcement can render public administration into democracy administered. The goal of the book is to offer a novel framework for empirically and normatively understanding how democratic values have, and should be, reinforced by public administration.
The book is dedicated to my mentor and friend, Larry Lynn, with whom I wrote Madison’s Managers: Public Administration and the Constitution.
I am deeply grateful to have received the following endorsements from scholars whose work has been an inspiration:
This brilliantly written book reflects the critical role public administration plays in representative democracies. Bertelli weaves international experiences into his universally relevant narrative. Not since the early treatises by key figures in American public administration have we seen such a significant contribution to the field. This is essential reading for scholars and students of public administration.
Norma M. Riccucci – Rutgers University, Newark
An urgent debate is happening globally regarding the nature, significance, and prospects for democracy and representative government. Central to this debate is which public values are to be served, by whom, and how – and central to that is what the role of public administration is and ought to be. Bertelli’s important new book engages this debate head on and illuminates it in ways crucial for theory, practice, and research. He forcefully argues that ‘the fundamental problem’ of public administration is neither the capabilities nor the control of public managers, but instead how they can and should behave to achieve the aims of representative government. The book is a must-read for everyone interested in representative democracy and public administration.
John Bryson – University of Minnesota
Tony Bertelli provides a unique and original approach to democratic accountability in complex administrative structures. This book is indispensable for those wanting to think seriously about accountability and democratic values in the modern state.
Keith Dowding – Australian National University
We know that efficient, effective and equitable administration of law and policy is important for the well-being of democracy. But Bertelli turns the equation around, vividly illuminating how public administrators make fundamental decisions about the conduct of democracy itself. Bridging democratic theory and public administration, he demonstrates how the democratic values of public administrators are the missing link in debates about the quality and character of representative democracy.
Christopher Ansell – University of California, Berkeley