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The effect of politician-constituent conflict on bureaucratic responsiveness under varying information frames

Annabelle Sophie Wittels

No 4x8q2, SocArXiv from Center for Open Science

Abstract: Public participation in rulemaking has long been regarded as an integral part of a functioning democracy. It is however unclear how governments and administrations influence the throughput of public participa- tion, and on a micro-level the decisions of bureaucrats tasked with acting upon such input. In representative democracies the policy positions of elected politicians can divert from public opinion. In addition, public participation initiatives do not commonly attract a fully representative set of society. Thereby demands from the participating public and political principals can diverge. Bureaucrats are then faced with conflicting input. Given bureaucrats’ discretion to manage public participation processes and their outputs, how can we expect them to act? Will they act accord- ing to the wishes of their political principal, will they side with the public or choose to divert. I use a survey experiment with senior bureaucrats in the US and the UK to test this. Further, I assess whether information frames alter such behaviour and whether this varies with the presence of citizen-politician conflict. I find that conflict leads bureaucrats to adopt more of an adviser role, but that information frames have no significant effect.

Date: 2020-01-24
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm and nep-pol
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DOI: 10.31219/

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