Share this
PREVIOUS ARTICLE ALL CONTENTS Next ARTICLE

Bending the Rules: Procedural Politicking in the Bureaucracy, Rachel Augustine Potter

Reviewed by Ian R. Turner

BUY

 

Rachel Augustine Potter points out that more than 90 percent of American “laws” are developed and implemented by unelected bureaucrats, rather than through congressional legislation (p. 2). Because of the importance of this fact, many scholars, across many academic disciplines, have studied how political principals—Congress, the president, federal courts—may utilize their powers to control the bureaucracy’s policymaking behavior. One particularly influential idea from this literature argues that the design of administrative procedures to guide bureaucratic behavior is a powerful tool for doing just that.

In Bending the Rules, Potter develops a compelling argument highlighting how these procedural “controls” are precisely the means by which the bureaucracy can pursue its own goals through what she terms procedural politicking, or “using procedures in strategic ways so as to insulate policies that are at risk of political interventions and ensure that bureaucrat-preferred policies endure” (p. 6). With a focus on rulemaking, she illustrates how savvy bureaucrats—experts in how procedural choices impact overall outcomes— account for the nature of the broader political context when shepherding regulations through

To continue reading, see options above.

About PSQ's Editor

ROBERT Y. SHAPIRO

Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.

CONFERENCES & EVENTS

2022 Midterm Elections: Democracy at Risk
November 3, 2022
6:00 p.m. ET
New York, NY

MORE ABOUT THIS EVENT VIEW ALL EVENTS

Editor’s spotlight

Ukraine, Russia, and the West

Creating a Disaster: NATO's Open Door Policy
Robert J. Art

Engagement, Containment, and the International Politics of Eurasia
DAVID W. RIVERA

MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC

Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

Current Perspectives on American Politics   CURRENT PERSPECTIVES ON AMERICAN POLITICS

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS