Beyond the rules: The effect of outcome favourability on red tape perceptions

Wesley Kaufmann, Mary K. Feeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations


The underlying reasoning of much red tape research is that the level of rule burden, in terms of resources expended at implementing and complying with specific rules, is the main driver of red tape perceptions. In this study we challenge this claim and argue that stakeholder red tape perceptions are also affected by the favourability of the outcome. More specifically, if a certain rule or procedure has a positive outcome for a certain stakeholder, then this stakeholder will perceive lower levels of red tape, irrespective of rule burden. Using a survey experiment (n=81), we show how variations in red tape perceptions are affected in equal measure by rule burden and outcome. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of our findings for red tape scholars, in particular the need to further understand the relationships between red tape perceptions and rule procedures and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-191
Number of pages14
JournalPublic Administration
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

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