Learning While Governing: Expertise and Accountability in the Executive Branch by Sean GailmardLearning While Governing: Expertise and Accountability in the Executive Branch by Sean Gailmard

Learning While Governing: Expertise and Accountability in the Executive Branch

bySean Gailmard

Paperback | December 1, 2012

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Although their leaders and staff are not elected, bureaucratic agencies have the power to make policy decisions that carry the full force of the law. In this groundbreaking book, Sean Gailmard and John W. Patty explore an issue central to political science and public administration: How do Congress and the president ensure that bureaucratic agencies implement their preferred policies?
The assumption has long been that bureaucrats bring to their positions expertise, which must then be marshaled to serve the interests of a particular policy. In Learning While Governing, Gailmard and Patty overturn this conventional wisdom, showing instead that much of what bureaucrats need to know to perform effectively is learned on the job. Bureaucratic expertise, they argue, is a function of administrative institutions and interactions with political authorities that collectively create an incentive for bureaucrats to develop expertise. The challenge for elected officials is therefore to provide agencies with the autonomy to do so while making sure they do not stray significantly from the administration’s course. To support this claim, the authors analyze several types of information-management processes. Learning While Governing speaks to an issue with direct bearing on power relations between Congress, the president, and the executive agencies, and it will be a welcome addition to the literature on bureaucratic development.

Sean Gailmard is the Judith E. Gruber Associate Professor in the Travers Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. John W. Patty is associate professor of political science at Washington University.
Title:Learning While Governing: Expertise and Accountability in the Executive BranchFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:December 1, 2012Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226924416

ISBN - 13:9780226924410


Table of Contents


1 Introduction

PART I Acquiring Information
2 Developing Administrative Expertise
3 Expertise and Deference
4 The Federal Civil Service

PART II Sharing Information
5 Agents for Policy Advice under Separation of Powers
6 Congressional Development of the Institutional Presidency

PART III Eliciting Information
7 Information, Regulated Interests, and Administrative Policymaking
8 The SEC and the Regulation of Finance
9 Conclusion


Editorial Reviews

“Gailmard and Patty’s engaging book . . . explores the implications of endogenous policy expertise for the institutional relationships between the government’s constitutional branches and the bureaucracy. Skillfully weaving together theory and history, the book offers a compelling and unified account of how government organization affects bureaucratic incentives to acquire, share, and elicit policy-relevant information. . . . Through the importance of its subject matter and depth of its analysis Learning While Governing represents a significant contribution to the political economy of bureaucratic expertise and institutional design that is bound to enrich discussion in graduate classes in political science, public administration, and regulation economics. All future research on bureaucratic institutionalization will need to engage the ideas developed in this work.”