Don’t Blame the Bureaucracy!

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24 Scopus citations


Public agencies and public employees are increasingly berated as inept and inefficient. We argue that the public bureaucracy in the United States is more valuable and effective than generally recognized. Where public agencies do perform badly, the problem is often due to external factors. We discuss the oversimplified calls for more businesslike efficiency in government, the value complexity which complicates evaluation of the public bureaucracy, and the higher standards imposed on the public sector. We also discuss the challenges imposed on public agencies by special interest politics, an overload of highly complex assignments, and adverse public stereotypes. The danger of overlooking these issues is that we will continue to have a huge, active public sector, and decisions about its role and management must not be determined by oversimplification and stereotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-168
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Public Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1983

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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