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Politics of Bureaucracy



This course will provide a graduate level introduction to the political science literature on the politics of bureaucracy. We will analyse how public agencies and their employees at all levels of government survive and sometimes prosper within in an intensely political environment. We will proceed in three steps. First, we will briefly examine the relationship between politics and administration. Second, we will develop a working model of bureaucratic politics by examining the motivations of relevant actors and their complex environment(s). And third, we will examine the enduring problem of political control of the bureaucracy, with emphasis on evaluating a number of alternative and competing institutional strategies designed to enhance control. The course will be conducted using very short lectures and discussions on the scholarly literature relevant to our topic. Our goals are to become familiar with the issue of bureaucratic politics and with the scholarly literature on the topic. By the end of the course, students should be able to engage in a professionally informed discussion about the politics of bureaucracy.

Study Material

Course evaluation will be based on three elements. First, students will be evaluated on general class participation, which will count for 30 percent of the final grade. Students are expected to be prepared to discuss all assigned readings as well as the presentations of other students. Second, students will be asked several times (depending on enrollment) during the term to prepare a single spaced, single page report on one or more journal articles for class distribution and discussion. I will provide further details on these reports in class. These reports and accompanying discussion will be worth 20 percent of the final grade. Third, the course will end with an essay final exam critiquing (a) journal article(s) or an applied policy proposal (provided in advance) from the perspective of topics we will examine over the course of the term. The final exam will be worth 50 percent of your grade.

Monday 9 May 13-16 hrs SA09
Wednesday 11 May 9-12 hrs in room 2A22
Friday 13 May 9-12 hrs in room 5A37
Monday 16 May 13-16 hrs in room 2A36
Wednesday 18 May 9-12 hrs in room 5A29
Friday 20 May 9-12hrs 5B02
Monday 23 May 13-16 hrs TBA
Wednesday 25 May 9-12 hrs in room 6C03