Administering representation: The role of elected administrators in translating citizens' preferences into public policy

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12 Scopus citations

Abstract

One of the most fundamental questions for democratic governance is how to structure a system that promotes policy choices that reflect citizens' preferences. Given the typical absence of any direct connection between voters and administrators, scholars have devoted considerable attention to whether the bureaucracy is consistent with this important tenet of democracy. However, there is not always a disconnect between administrative officials and the electorate. In the US states, many of the individuals who administer various state agencies are directly elected, and the number of elected officisals varies greatly across the states. The diffusion of executive authority to elected administrative officials might enhance the congruence between citizens' preferences and public policy. In this article, I consider this question, finding that the diffusion of executive authority to elected administrators fosters the translation of citizens' preferences into public policy, and that a strong electoral connection is key for facilitating this relationship. These findings speak directly to the consequences of executive design for democratic representation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)865-897
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing

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