Bureaucracy is the institution in which the inchoate policy pronouncements of Congress take concrete form.

In addition, even a policy clearly articulated by Congress is usually implemented by bureaucrats. The reach of the bureaucracy in public policy is necessarily vast, so it is no surprise that Congress, the president, courts, and interest groups all seek in uence over bureaucracies. Political and bureaucratic corruption affect the quality of public policy, and indirectly the well-being of millions of people. Empirical evidence shows that corruption slows economic development, biases government expenditures, and reinforces income inequality THE BUREAUCRATIC POLITICS FRAMEWORK (BPF) Studies in public administration and public policy have long argued that governments are not one entity. Rather they are made up of many bureaus and departments that are constantly trying to protect their turf and maintain or increase their power (Allison, 1971; Halperin, 1974; Allison and Halperin, 1972; Kingdon, 1995; Peters, 2001). The most well-known description of a “bureaucratic politics model” is the one proposed by Graham T. Allison (1971) to explain foreign policy decision-making in the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. Subsequently, by illustrating cases of foreign policy decision-making in the U.S. during the Cold War era, Halperin (1974) introduced the politics within a government as the concept of bureaucratic politics. Garry Clifford (1990: 168) argues that by focusing on bureaucratic politics, which emphasizes individual values and the tugging and hauling of key players we are able to understand who wins and why. Akin to public choice theories in public administration (Down, 1967; Niskanen, 1971), bureaucratic politics is an important factor to explain the policy decision-making process. Building from the classical model, political scientists have modified and develop the concept throughout the years. An example is the ‘adaptive model of bureaucratic politics’ by Bendor and Moe (1984), where they

the BPF proposes to examine a longer time-frame perspective than the classical bureaucratic politics model. Discussions of administrative reform. domestic institutional variable of bureaucratic politics into its theories. this paper proposes a broader interpretation of the bureaucratic politics framework. not just single decisions in a crisis situation. Compared to Allison’s classical bureaucratic politics model. In linking the two concepts of bureaucratic politics and administrative reforms. the classical model identifies actors as a small group of individuals holding key government positions. covers a broader range of actors who are politicians and bureaucrats that are . the authors would like to propose a framework to study bureaucratic politics in the setting of administrative reforms.proposed a new framework built on neoclassical approaches of Niskanen (1971) and Peltzman (1976). also. The BPF. politicians. at the same time. While. In this regard. The distinctness of their model is the incorporation of Simon’s (1947) behavior tradition. 4 In order to further advance the concept of bureaucratic politics and explore its usefulness in analyzing administrative reforms. in addition to identifying three actors: bureaus. the phenomenon of administrative reform can. one can use both concepts as an independent or dependent variable. in general. be used to explain the changes in power relations of bureaucratic politics. have sporadically but not systematically included this important. the phenomenon of bureaucratic politics can be used to explain aspects of administrative reform policies. however. The notion of bureaucratic politics is used to explain the political process of administrative reform. That is to say. In addition. It goes beyond a policy making focus to cover policy implementation and impact studies of administrative reform. and interest groups.

In this bureaucratic politics framework. the word bureaucratic politics in administrative reform is used to describe the political games of bargaining. Lastly. The proposed BPF consists of three aspects. between high-level bureaucrats and mid/lowlevel bureaucrats. The second aspect examines how administrative reform policies and tools are used as instruments in bureaucratic politics relations. While the losers’ relative power lessened. pulling and hauling. between core agencies and line agencies. RELATIONS BETWEEN ACTORS Administrative reform is a struggle for power and control among various politician and bureaucrat actors. The first aspect focuses on the types of actors and relations between the actors. between line agencies. that goes on among and between politicians and bureaucrats to push for administrative reforms in government which would increase one’s relative power in government. Thus. The victorious side in the battle for power ends up expanding their domain and turf in government. there are several types of power relations among and between politicians and bureaucrats. And the third aspect discusses the results of reform in terms of shifts in power relations and changes in managerial practices of the public administration. Second is the relation among bureaucrats. which can further be divided into relations between central agencies. 5 Figure 1: The Bureaucratic Politics Framework (BPF) I. and between old-timer bureaucrats and new faces that have been . Each aspect is described in detail as follows.involved and affected by administrative reform. the proposed BPF incorporates not only high level public officials but also mid and low level public officials as well. First is the relation between politicians and bureaucrats.

The bureaucratic politics of administrative reform can be seen as the struggle between politicians and bureaucrats for power and control of the state machine. Bureaucrat Politician vs. 1991. 1996b. and 1994). And third is the relation among politicians. Pollitt and Bouckaert (2004) confirm the importance of understanding the relationship between administration and politics. Peters 2001). 1987. and administrators and politicians. 2000a. 2001a. Dunleavy. Politician Reform Policy level Tool level Results Power Shift Managerial Changes 6 1. Relations Politician vs. The details and examples of each type of bureaucratic politics relation are elaborated as follows. Bureaucrats (PB) As important as politicians’ power is the notion of bureaucratic power (Meier. . Reform policies and tools are introduced to alter the power balance between politicians and bureaucrats (Bowornwathana. Bureaucrat Bureaucrat vs. 2001c. Politicians vs.assigned to the agency as part of the reform. In their study public management reform in ten countries. 1996a. 1999. All three relations are interrelated and all effect the direction of reform policies and the types of managerial tools chosen.

K. the politician-bureaucrat power relationships in the U. 107-168). such as in the U. Japan. Thailand and Italy. 2002. for example. This is especially true in cases where the goal of reform is to reduce the power of bureaucrats. Thailand. 2005.. Some scholars. and stronger politicians” (Jarvis. however. contended that the change from government (or the Westminster model) to governance (or Rhodes’s “differentiated polity model”) might have gone too far resulting in a hollowed-out . TABLE 1: Politician-Bureaucrat Power Relationships Politicians Weak Strong Weak U. Thailand. Japan. the next step’s executive agencies program.” The “Yes Ministers” are said to be under the influence and directions of career bureaucrats. administrative reforms introduced since the Thatcher Governments (1979-1990) have reduced the power of bureaucrats. the citizen’s charters and quangos were intended to produce “weaker bureaucrats. Massey and Pyper.This refers to the relationships between politicians such as the prime minister and ministers on the one hand.K.K. Bowornwathana. performance agreement frameworks. governments have been characterized as having “weak politicians and strong bureaucrats. director-generals. However. Italy (After) Bureaucrats Strong U. and high-ranking bureaucrats such as under-secretaries. Japan. Italy (Before) In general.. state enterprise CEOs on the other.K.. These reform programs are. An example of an estimation of the power relations between politicians and bureaucrats is outlined in Table 1. 2001b.

The tradition of “strong bureaucrats. 57. and the person who really runs it is the administrative vice-minister. 2005). Woronoff. but compared to the American government the top politicians have little leverage over the bureaucracy. As Vogel (1979. In other words. The key decisions in the ministry are made by the permanent bureaucrats rather than by the politicians of the Diet and the Cabinet. Richards and Smith. Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour Party’s antidote to departmentalism is “joined-up government. Thai bureaucrats have wielded tremendous policy making and implementation power. but there are no other political appointments in the ministry. the elected governments are unable to control and coordinate policy across all of Whitehall. 1996. McAnulla. Rothacher. 28-42. 121-129. the highest career officer in the ministry. 1997. Elected . 1993. 2005. Stockwin. 2001b. 143-164. Since the overthrow of absolute monarchy in 1932. 1986). weak politicians” can also be observed in the Thai polity. and making the prime minister head of the new Cabinet Office (Bowornwathana. 2002.7 state with self-organizing networks that are beyond the control of the executive core (Rhodes. 54) explained: “The politicians make many important political decisions.” One aim of the January 2001 Reform of Central Government was to strengthen the power of the prime minister through several initiatives such as changing the cabinet law to allow the prime minister to propose policies in cabinet meetings. Neary.” which under the “Modernizing Government” Program. 4-7. 2005. and Bogdanor. The prime minister may appoint one politician to be minister and another parliamentary vice-minister in each minister. 2005). 2006. a strong central control from Number 10 and the Cabinet Office is advocated (Richards and Smith. The Japanese polity has a long tradition of strong bureaucrats. weak politicians.

2005b. 2006d). The four-country cases clearly indicate a common trend in administrative reform to move away from the tradition of “weak politicians. 8 In Italy. 2000. 233-234). and the effort to reduce the cost of administration through reform of structures and administrative procedures such as by amalgamating the Ministries of Transport and Merchant Shipping together (Bull and Newell. On the other hand. strong bureaucrats” to a new . Changes have been taken place during the last two decades with elected politicians becoming more powerful. 2005a. not the exception. Recent administrative reform policies undertaken by Italian Governments such as the Amato and Ciampi governments in 1992 and 1993 had moved into the direction of “stronger politicians. In this regard. 150). 29 of 1993 changed the legal basis of public employers’ contracts by undermining job security. 2002b. there is the tradition of the separation of the administrative system from the political domain. 2005. 2004a. Under the Thaksin Governments (2001-present).” Examples of reform are: the legislative decree no.coalition governments were short-lived. various administrative reforms undertaken have consolidated power in the hands of the Prime Minister Thaksin at the expense of bureaucrats and other politicians (Bowornwathana. politicians are weak because of the nature of unstable coalition governments of Italy which brings together political parties and factions with diverse ideologies. weaker bureaucrats. 2002a. Italian bureaucrats are strong. The ideology of administrative neutrality and impartiality of bureaucrats is practiced in the Italian polity (Lewansky. 2006b. and military rule was the rule. The 1948 Constitution reserved the power to determine the structure and the functions of the administration to the parliament rather than to the government. while the career bureaucrats less powerful.

Bureaucrats (BB) The bureaucratic politics of administrative reform is very intense among the bureaucrats themselves. And the fifth type is the competition within an agency between old bureaucrats and new bureaucrats. 2005). Central vs. Especially in states with large number of agencies with relatively little coordination. A common manifestation of politics among bureaucrats is the struggle among central agencies for turf and domain expansion (Bowornwathana and Poocharoen. Central Firstly. Bureaucrats vs. 2001). Bureaucracies constantly build empires and they constantly struggle to survive (Peters 2001).paradigm of “stronger politicians. competition becomes an important part of the agencies’ lives and very important for their survival (Peters. who are usually politically appointed. These contestations usually occur among: the agency responsible for financial issues or the budget. The third type is the struggle for superior power between bureaucrats of different line ministries. 9 There are five general types of politics among bureaucrats. We understand this because we have incorporated the relations between politicians and bureaucrats as an element in this bureaucratic politics framework. The following is an elaboration of each type within the context of administrative reform. The fourth type is the politics between high and mid/low levels of bureaucrats. 2. The second type is the contestation between core and line agencies. there are constant games of bureaucratic politics among a handful of central agencies in the area of administrative reform. A. the agency . and weaker bureaucrats”. The first type refers to the competition among core or central agencies. especially those from different government agencies.

2000: 127). after it took over the responsibilities of the Bureau of Government Organizations. CSC set up the Bureau of Management Consultant. In late 1960s. budgetary. and the agency responsible for planning and evaluation of reform or overall management of the civil service system. the Development Administration Unit (DAU) initially was assigned to undertake four tasks: personnel administration and training: planning. the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) within the Department of Finance raced to lead the reform strategies. The bureaucratic politics between CSC and TBS to control reform created confusion and duplications of reform efforts (Saint-Martin. David Lipsey (2000: 45-55) recorded the battles that went on between the Treasury and Civil Service Department (CSD). These are the evidences of contestation between central agencies 10 over reform strategies in the U. In the U.. which was created in 1979. and the state and local administration (Esman 1972: 157).responsible for human resources management or the civil service commission. management services.K.K. In 1967. After the Glassco Commission report in 1960. within the Cabinet Office. Later on the Treasury gave up most of their power on human resource management to the Office of Public Service and Science (OPSS). which was created in 1968. The DAU led several . Another example is the case of Malaysia. After which. TBS set up the Management Improvement Branch. which later became the Department of Supply and Services (DSS). and financial administration. which was set up to lead reforms. there were battles between the Treasury and with the Efficiency Unit. An example is the case of Canada. before its implementation of reform policies in the 1980s. incorporating the former organization and methods technicians.

while in reality the Treasury had the real power on budget issues. In the end. then Deputy Prime Minister under Prime Minister Razak. prior to 2003. Up until today. the Treasury was able to hold on to its turf. but it lacked the support of central agencies. has lost its turf and power to another central agency responsible for financial issues.reform initiatives in the beginning. the DAU was transformed into MAMPU in 1978. 11 . which was mainly in charge of management and human resources. Under the initiative of Mahathir Mohamad. In the case of Thailand. Similarly in Australia from 1984 to1987. Soon there were tensions between the DAU and the Treasury to have power over reform of budgetary issues. The control of the number of staffs was transferred to the Department of Finance. This case shows that the Public Service Board. The responsibility for adjudicating grievances was transferred to the Merit Protection and Review Agency. Some personnel management powers and functions were also delegated to departments (Holmes and Wileman. the Treasury still takes full responsibility for performance-based budgeting or modified budgeting system (MBS).’ OMB model and thus expected budget issues to be aligned with management issues. there were consistent tensions and struggles to dominate reform policies between the Office of the Civil Service Commission (OCSC) and the Bureau of the Budget (BOB) (Bowornwathana and Poocharoen. the powerful Public Service Board was gradually replaced by the less powerful Public Service Commission. The DAU was assigned to do both.S. 1972: 194-208). essentially it won the battle to lead reform and DAU was dismantled (Esman. The DAU in Malaysia did not last because the advisors did not separate between human resources and financial resources reforms. as what the Malaysians call it. 1997). This was because the advisors were used to the U.

for overall public sector reform policies. which is usually newly created to specifically lead reform in the area of overall management issues. this tug of war . implementation and evaluation responsibilities. That is. Thus. the tensions became triangulated. All of these five cases reveal this classic type of bureaucratic politics of competition between central agencies. the OCSC against the OPDC for human resources work and at the same time. And. the BOB and OCSC were to coordinate closely to develop and implement the core of the reform program. However. and management. this disturbed the coordination expected between OCSC and BOB. Meanwhile. when administrative reform policies. Line The second type is the power struggle between core agencies and line agencies in the process of reform. the hauling and pulling goes on among the three ‘M’ agencies: man. money. OPDC against BOB. which are usually responsible for man – human resources and money – budget. The agencies are again back to square one in terms of struggling for power to control the direction and momentum of reform. there is a third central agency. They must first implement this concept in their respective agencies because they are the central agencies in financial and human resource management.2005). B. From the perspective of administrative reform. In a World Bank report (1999). was separated from the human resources agency – the OCSC. However. which is performance-based management. as the cases point to. when the OPDC was created. and put under the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission (OPDC) in 2002. including giving government advice. line agencies consider themselves to be experts in their work and want to be autonomous from central agencies. Central vs. Core central agencies have tendencies to increase their standardization power over line ministries and departments.

Line ministries and departments can have power over reform decisions if their minister boss is very powerful in government who can influence reform choices of 12 government. Table 2 demonstrates an example using this type of bureaucratic politics to analyze administrative reform in Thailand. the line ministries and agencies were able to develop their skills and expanded their area of power. The Treasury had overwhelming powers over budgetary and financial issues over line ministries. the . 1992). From 1932 and before the Field Marshall Sarit Period of the 1950s. In 1976. central bureaucrats were weak and line bureaucrats were strong. Thus. central officials retain their strength. Opposite to the current Thai situation. TABLE 2: Central-Line Bureaucrats Power Relationships The above table shows how the relationships between central bureaucrats and line agencies in the Thai Government have evolved during from1932 to 2006. without being dominated by the Treasury. From the Sarit Period onwards to 2000. By splitting off financial issues to the new Department. the power of the Treasury was broken down and devolution of authority was passed on to line ministries and agencies. central bureaucrats became much stronger with the establishment and upgrading of several central agencies. Under the Thaksin Government (2000-present).between central and line agencies mean that both sides would try to change the course of reform to their own advantage. the Fraser government weakened the Treasury Department by establishing the Department of Finance (Campbell and Halligan. Central agencies are usually closer to the center of power in government such as the prime minister than the line agencies. Also. while line officials are becoming weaker. an example of central agencies being pressured to reduce and devolve their administrative powers to line agencies is the case of Australia.

1997). there is what one can call the phenomenon of a “super ministry. more an impediment to improving administration than a benefit” (Holmes and Wileman. Excluding some powers went to the Department of Finance. the power of a particular ministry vis-à-vis other ministries may change. In several countries.” In the traditional Thai bureaucracy. For example. almost all other responsibilities of personnel matters were devolved to individual departments (Holmes and Wileman. Line The third type is the struggle for superior power among bureaucrats in different line ministries.Sarit Sarit-2000 13 C. Central Bureaucrats Weak Strong Weak Thaksin 2000present Line Bureaucrats Strong 1932. After a reform. Or the creation of new ministries may ignite a fierce battle among bureaucrats in old and new ministries to incorporate as many agencies as possible into their turfs. 1997). The Board had 780 staffs in 1987 but was reduced to only 130 staffs and changed its name to Public Service Commission. in a major restructuring of government. the Ministry of Interior has been the super . Line vs. unhelpful. It was perceived to be “overstaffed. bureaucrats from different ministries may fight for the inclusion of a bureau under their structural domain.Public Service Board’s power was reallocated to the line ministries. over-intrusive.

economic and intellectual force without parallel in the developed world. Johnson. 53-96). 1997). Recent reforms have gradually reduced the power of the Interior Ministry by splitting off several agencies such as the Police Department. see also Vogel. Abolafia 14 (1997) studied political activities among lower level bureaucrats. 1995. the Office of the Attorney-General. High vs. see back cover. Claiming a divine right which supersedes elected governments. In Japan. Another powerful ministry in Japan is the Ministry of Finance. Ralph S. it enjoys a greater concentration of powers-formal and informal-than any comparable body in any industrialized democracy (Hartcher. Brower and Mitchel Y.ministry. the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) was described by Chalmers Johnson as “an elite bureaucratic department with no precise equivalent in any country. Low The fourth type is the politics between high and mid/low levels of bureaucrats. They found that lower participants engage in political activities that are primarily about the pursuit of identity rather than specific organizational outcomes. 1995). This type has been examined in the literature of public policy in general but not specifically on administrative reforms. and the Department of Labor from the Interior Ministry. D. Some call the mandarins of the Finance Ministry as “the elite of the elite” (Rafferty.” Johnson attributed Japan’s economic miracle after the Second World War to the success of MITI in collaborating Japan’s “capitalist developmental state’s” role in the economy with the private sector (Johnson. 1982. They formulated a model of politics from below that contrasts with Graham Allison's model of bureaucratic politics among those at the top. 1979. Peter Hartcher argued that The Ministry of Finance in Japan is “a political. Another example would be O’Leary’s (1994) .

For example. In a study of rewards of high public office. This could be the competition between old bureaucrats and new bureaucrats. Department of Interior and the Nevada Department of Wildlife.S. It could also be competition when . while they were pushing for a new legislation. who are usually politically appointed. It was found that these career public managers were shaping the organizational environment and that most public servants have many masters and multiple directors of accountability. Under the Thaksin Governments the income gap between high and low bureaucrats continues to widen with the introduction of unfair reform programs such as a new bonus system for high performing high bureaucrats. and low level bureaucrats show signs of low motivation and resentment towards the agency. an indication that low bureaucrats are losing power is when the gap between high bureaucrats and low bureaucrats in terms of salary and reward widens after a reform. bureaucrat type of politics is when reform disrupts the balance of power within the organization or within the sphere of power in policy-making. Under programs such as brain-drain prevention schemes and special allowances. while to others they are deviant insubordinates. In the realm of administrative reform. Bowornwathana (2006c) concluded that reform initiatives approved by governments in the 1990s involving the systems of rewards for bureaucrats have substantially widened the income gap between high and low bureaucrats. To some they are entrepreneurs. E. there are also similar situations where mid/low level bureaucrats are quietly fighting to maintain their turf and power with high level bureaucrats. Old vs.examination of the bureaucrats at the middle and lower levels in the U. high bureaucrats are proportionally rewarded more than mid and low bureaucrats. New The fifth version of the bureaucrat vs.

think tanks for long-term advice. a priorities review staff. and ministerial advisors. 3. Thus it became the case of old-timers against newly appointed heads of central agencies. In the case of Thailand. In Italy. in Thailand. until OPDC was established in 2003.the power of insiders to select their agency head may be taken away by outsiders 15 under the new rules of public management reform through business ideas such as the CEO model. Interestingly. Chosen administrative reform measures can change the relative power of the prime minister vis-à-vis cabinet ministers. in order to open-up ideas from outside the civil service. mainly the prime minister and cabinet ministers. it used a part of OCSC’s building complex as their office and all of its officials were made up of former OCSC officials. thus causing contestation between the groups. it had upset some senior level officials in OCSC that were hoping for the positions. the reformists decided to add different groups to give policy advice. including: task forces and committees of enquiries using external experts. For example. Such as in the case of Australia after 1972. Politicians (PP) The third type of power relations that is affected by the bureaucratic politics of administrative reform is the power balance among politicians. except for the top positions. former PM Silvio Berlusconni had . When the OPDC was set up. Thaksin’s administrative reform policies have strengthened the prime minister’s power position over the rest. Politicians vs. because the top positions were political appointees from outside of OCSC. commissions. the OCSC was taking the lead in formulating and advocating public sector reform policies. This removed the important role of old bureaucrats to be in the hands of new bureaucrats.

There are HANDBOOK rule. legitimacy . Access to the use of ideological mechanisms is usually considered a powerful resource as well. Information is another important source of power and the basis of bureaucratic activity at the functional level. and economic goods. 2005b). Economic goods are mainly the material resources that bureaucratic units receive through the budget.tried to introduce constitutional reform measures that would increase his power (Bowornwathana. each bureaucratic unit possesses a certain volume of power resources. Coercion may or may not be applied legitimately. for hiring personnel. which may be composed of coercion. and making the necessary maintenance and operation expenditures. Finally. legitimacy. investing in infrastructure. depending on the nature of the incumbent government and the extent to which governance is based on social consensus. information. Interaction within bureaucracy entails a permanent exchange of information or the application of knowledge (an elaborate form of information) to material goods.

monopoly of coercion by military bureaucracies has historically been a major source of power for ousting democratic regimes. the first section proposed an examination of the historical roots of bureaucracy as one of the main . status. leadership. some final notes My introductory remarks were intended to provide justification as to why the involvement of public bureaucracies in politics and policy implementation can be adequately captured by a systematic analysis of power and productivity as the main variables.is a source of power that may derive from one or a bundle of variables: authority. These various power resources are unequally distributed throughout the bureaucracy both in terms of absolute power possessed by different agencies or units and in the particular composition of those resources in each case. For this purpose. consensus. and capacity to manipulate symbolic and ideological instruments. The legitimacy of bureaucracy is a major resource to substantiate its claim to continue to obtain the resources and supports that allow its existence. For example.

as a component of the broader process of societal building. resources are assigned. its agenda (and contents of issues that await decisions) is formed. in turn. public policies (or stands on issues) are formulated.attributes of “stateness” and. and institutional arrangements are established for policy implementation. . This analysis revealed why and how a national state originates and develops. The conclusion was that bureaucracy can be viewed as an outgrowth of public policies inasmuch as it is what it does.

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