policing the administrative state

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Authors Alex Acs
Journal/Conference Name THE JOURNAL OF POLITICS
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Politicians react to administrative policy making by developing systems of oversight. Existing studies largely emphasize the advantages of reactive oversight, where politicians wait for interest groups to pull a “fire alarm” on noncompliant activity. Less attention has been paid to proactive oversight, where politicians police administrators directly. To evaluate the effectiveness of “police patrol” oversight, I look to the White House, which has been policing regulatory proposals since the Nixon administration. I show how policing, or regulatory review, has made agencies more responsive to the president, both by singling out noncompliant proposals and, critically, by shaping agency behavior in anticipation of review. My findings suggest that police patrol oversight is more efficient than previously acknowledged, notably because the associated deterrence effects yield low-cost compliance. I conclude with a discussion of why Congress, despite having similar incentives to control administrators, has not ado...
Date of publication 2018
Code Programming Language R
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