Slow-Rolling, Fast-Tracking, and the Pace of Bureaucratic Decisions in Rulemaking

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Authors Rachel Augustine Potter
Journal/Conference Name THE JOURNAL OF POLITICS
Paper Category
Paper Abstract The slow pace of administrative action is arguably a defining characteristic of modern bureaucracy. The reasons proffered for delay are numerous, often centering on procedural hurdles or bureaucrats' ineptitude. I offer a different perspective on delay in one important bureaucratic venue: the federal rulemaking process. I argue that agencies can speed up (fast-track) or slow down (slow-roll) the rulemaking process in order to undermine political oversight provided by Congress, the president, and the courts. That is, when the political climate is favorable agencies rush to lock in a rule, but when it is less favorable they "wait out" the tenure of current political overseers. I find empirical support for this proposition using an event history analysis of more than 9,600 agency rules from 147 agencies. The results support the interpretation that agencies strategically delay, and that delay is not simply evidence of increased bureaucratic effort.
Date of publication 2017
Code Programming Language R
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