Have bureaucrats taken over the decision making role of politicians? This book offers a direct assessment of the role of bureaucrats in policy making by analysing how they shape policy in making decrees - laws that generally do not pass through full legislative scrutiny. These are oftendescribed as "secondary legislation" and are known by a variety of names (including decrets, arretes, administrative regulations, Verordnungen, statutory instruments). Such decrees offer an important vantage point for understanding bureaucratic power not only because they account for a largeproportion of policy making activity within the executive, but also because they are made largely away from the glare of publicity. If bureaucrats have strong policy making powers and use them in a way that minimises political involvement in policy making, we would expect to find these powersespecially evident in this "everyday" decision making. The book is based on research examining 52 decrees produced between 2005 and 2008 in six jurisdictions: France, the UK, Germany, Sweden, the United States and the European Union. The comparative perspective allows one to see how far different patterns of bureaucratic involvement in policy making arecharacteristic of particular political systems and how far they are a general feature of modern bureaucracies. The book asks three main questions about how these decrees are produced: when do politicians become involved in making them? What happens when politicians become involved? And what happenswhen they are not involved? The answers to these questions are provided by examination of primary source material as well as interviews with over 90 officials.