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Public Administration

Power and Politics in the Fourth Branch of Government

Kevin B. Smith and Michael J. Licari

Publication Date - February 2006

ISBN: 9780195330694

324 pages
7 x 10 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $109.99

"Smith and Licari clearly cover both the political and the management sides of public administration. This text challenges students with crisply presented arguments that provide a balanced view of the issues."--Kenneth J. Meier, Texas A&M University


Public Administration: Power and Politics in the Fourth Branch of Government presents public administration through the lens of politics and the policy-making power of the bureaucracy. By showing how the bureaucracy influences daily life, Smith and Licari bring the field of public administration alive for students. This text dispels the myth that the study of public administration is boring or irrelevant to students' lives by demonstrating just how deeply it pervades our lives.

The authors focus on the bureaucracy--"the fourth branch of government"--as a key ingredient in politics and policy-making. This approach is novel, but it accurately reflects the true nature of public administration in America. This book examines our bureaucracy's considerable political power, where it comes from, how it is used, and how it can be controlled.

Major Features:

* Unique focus on political and policy-making power. This is the first public administration textbook to focus on the political and policy-making power of the bureaucracy. Without abandoning coverage of more traditional topics, this approach is more compelling to students because it demonstrates just how much influence the bureaucracy wields in our daily lives.
* Highlights the tension between democracy and bureaucracy. A central paradox at the heart of the political system is democracy's reliance on the very undemocratic bureaucratic institutions that characterize the administrative branch of government. This text seeks to explain why and lay out the implications of that dependency.
* Details the role and legitimacy of public administration in a democracy. There is an uneasy and fascinating relationship between the democratically elected leadership in government and the bureaucracies needed to carry out their decisions. This tension forms a running theme throughout the book.
* Solid multidisciplinary foundation. This book draws on literature by the most important academics in the fields of both public administration and political science.
* Readability. Smith and Licari write in an engaging, informal style that is rich in lively examples and free of academic jargon.

Key terms are included in a glossary.


"Smith and Licari clearly cover both the political and the management sides of public administration. They communicate complex contemporary issues in public administration in a direct and understandable manner. This text challenges students with crisply presented arguments that provide a balanced view of the issues."--Kenneth J. Meier, Texas A&M University

Table of Contents

    Introduction: The Government You Didn't Know You Had, or Why You Should Be Interested in Public Administration
    Why Study Public Administration?
    What Is Public Administration?
    How to Study Public Administration
    Part I. The Politics of Public Administration
    2. The Administrative State: Or, Where Did All This Bureaucracy Come From?
    The Need for Public Administration
    Understanding the Rise of the Administrative State
    Bureaucracy's Role in the Policy Process
    Recap: Why We Need (and Want!) Bureaucracy
    The Structure of the Administrative State
    Why is Public Administration "Public"?
    3. A Difficult Mission: Trying to Please All the People All the Time
    The Basic Goal of Public Agencies
    Finding Goals
    Government Is No Way to Run a Business
    Having Business Run the Government
    4. Bureaucratic Power in a Democratic State: Or, Why Government Is More Than It's
    Cracked Up to Be
    The Traditional View of Public Administration
    Bureaucracy as a Political Actor
    Sources of Bureaucratic Power
    The Nature of Bureaucratic Power
    Rulemaking and Adjudication
    5. Ethics and Accountability
    A Question of Accountability
    Accountable to Whom?
    Mechanisms of Accountability
    Part II. Inside the Bureaucracy
    6. Deciding and Doing: The Central Challenges of Public Administration
    Deciders and Doers
    Decisions, Decisions
    Putting Decisions Into Action
    7. Public-Sector Performance
    Organizational Goals and Evaluating Performance
    Contextual Goals
    Public Expectations of Bureaucracy
    Multiple "Layers" of Implementation
    Evaluating Public-Sector Performance
    Part III. Public Management: The Core Functions of Public Administration
    8. Public Budgeting
    The Nature of Public Revenue and Spending
    What Do Public Budgets Do?
    Political Priorities in Public Budgeting
    The Federal Budget Process
    Budgeting in State and Local Governments
    Analysis in Public Budgeting
    9. Managing People
    Public Versus Private Personnel Systems
    Public Personnel Systems
    Recruiting, Selecting, and Hiring
    Compensation, Evaluation, and Promotion
    Unions and the Return of the Spoils System
    10. Implementation
    Requirements of Effective Policy Implementation
    The Reality of Policy Implementation
    Part IV. New Directions in Public Administration
    11. The Future of Public Administration
    The ATM Bureaucracy
    The Great Governance Debate
    Political and Policy Change: The Rise of the Disarticulated State Homeland Security
    The Study of Public Administration