This article by Schuster proves that when bureaucracies are politicized, the quality and accuracy of policy knowledge in the state is negatively affected. What I found interesting is how bureaucratic politicization vs. professionalism could be a very strong indicator of bureaucratic autonomy. Furthermore, because Schuster alleges that higher politicization results in lower bureaucratic capacity, I wonder if we could theorize that higher politicization leads to lower bureaucratic autonomy, and therefore lower bureaucratic capacity (note that this is different than state capacity, which Fukuyama focused on in his 2013 article).
A way to take this theory further would be to see if this could be applied to a country which isn’t multiparty, where politicization is harder to measure (Schuster’s case study is Argentina). If we can derive bureaucratic capacity scores in a country like the U.S., then we should theoretically find a correlation with bureaucratic autonomy, and maybe discover the politicization of an agency/bureaucracy. I’d be interested in taking this approach with the U.S. FEVS data.
And of course, I understand the actual causality of this theory needs to be tested.
Nathan, I found this article interesting too, especially when considered in the context of his other work with Oliveros. Where this article discusses the effects of politicization in the bureaucracy, the other article discusses two potential ways on how to increase neutrality. Testing both Weber’s theories, both merit hires and tenured employees both see an increase in neutrality from political parties. I think it would also be interesting to see experimental tests that include professionalism as the dependent variable instead.
I also really enjoyed this article by Schuster, and I think you pose some interesting future questions. I think what this article brought up for me is how we should define bureaucratic autonomy. Here bureaucratic autonomy seems to be directly linked to political interference, where it seems that many other articles refer to bureaucratic autonomy as a form of discretion. It could be interesting to investigate the impacts of politicization on bureaucratic autonomy, both in terms of political interference and in terms of discretion.
Interesting, Eliza. Can you keep track of this for us. I haven’t cited this article before.