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Political influence on street-level bureaucratic outcome: Testing the interaction between bureaucratic ideology and local community political orientation.

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Helena Stensöta
Publicerad i Journal of public administration research and theory
Volym 22
Nummer/häfte 3
Sidor 553-571
ISSN 1053-1858
Publiceringsår 2012
Publicerad vid
Sidor 553-571
Språk en
Ämnesord public administration, political orientation, implementation, public employees, Sweden, social insurance, Kaufmann
Ämneskategorier Övrig annan samhällsvetenskap

Sammanfattning

A basic principle of good government is that politics should be restricted to the input side, whereas the bureaucracy should operate independently of political considerations. However, previous literature documents an implementation gap between unitary political aims and varied local outcomes, which occasionally can be attributed to political reasons; both bureaucratic ideology and that local political constituencies can shape implementation and affect outcome. So far, however, research has neglected the question of whether one of these effects is conditioned by the other. This article presents original data on the political orientation of public employees in the Swedish Social Insurance Administration SSIA that allow these two factors to be tested together for the first time. The main finding is that neither the bureaucratic ideology nor the political orientation of the local community independently affects the outcome, but that the real effect of political ideology on implementation takes the form of an interaction effect between the two. This interaction effect visualizes so that a rightward shift in bureaucratic ideology significantly reduces the number of annual sick leave days per capita when the political orientation of the local community is right leaning. Hence, political ideology only affects welfare state outcome by restricting policy implementation in a situation in which restrictive public employees are positioned in restrictive local communities.

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