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Politics (1st edn)

Peter Ferdinand, Robert Garner, and Stephanie Lawson
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date: 18 April 2024

p. 34514. Executives, Bureaucracies, Policy Studies, and Governancelocked

p. 34514. Executives, Bureaucracies, Policy Studies, and Governancelocked

  • Peter Ferdinand, Peter FerdinandEmeritus Reader in Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick
  • Robert GarnerRobert GarnerProfessor of Politics, University of Leicester
  •  and Stephanie LawsonStephanie LawsonProfessor of Politics and International Studies, Macquarie University


This chapter examines how executives, bureaucracies, and policy studies influence governance. It first provides an overview of the relations between the legislature and the executive, with emphasis on the competing claims of presidentialism versus parliamentarianism, before discussing the civil service and its traditional role in building up the effective power of the state. Using examples from economic policy-making, it argues that embedded autonomy is an appropriate way of characterizing the civil service's relationship with the rest of society. The chapter goes on to consider theories of bureaucratic policy-making, focusing in particular on policy innovation, public administration, and New Public Management, the more recent proliferation of agencies in government, and the concept of good governance. Issue networks, the notion of iron triangles, and policy communities are also explored. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the ‘network state’ and its implications for civil servants.

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