A Caltech Library Service

Bureaucratic (?) Failures: Causes and Cures

Fiorina, Morris P. (1982) Bureaucratic (?) Failures: Causes and Cures. Social Science Working Paper, 422. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

[img] PDF (sswp 422 - Apr. 1982) - Submitted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Bureaucracy is a traditional object of disparaging commentary, but in recent years it has received more than a proportionate share of popular and political criticism. Perceived problems of wasteful, unresponsive, power-hungry, and out-of-control bureaucracy have generated calls for across the board cut-backs in bureaucratic size and authority, as well as for various structural reforms designed to limit the activities of what is left after the pruning. This paper argues that much criticism of American bureaucracy is misplaced, and that attempts at structural tinkering are therefore doomed to fail. Too many critics of contemporary bureaucracy fail to understand that deeper political (usually Congressional) failures are the basic causes and bureaucratic failures often only symptoms. The single-member district electoral system, re-election seeking Congressmen, and the Congressional division of labor combine to produce a system in which apparent bureaucratic failures emerge as a by-product of efforts to generate political support. Structural reforms may be useful to contemplate, but they should address electoral and Congressional structures as well as if not more so than bureaucratic structures.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Additional Information:Forthcoming, Society 1982. [Uploader's note: does not appear to have been published.]
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:422
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171003-145303967
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:82007
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:20 Dec 2017 00:04
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:49

Repository Staff Only: item control page