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, Volume 135, Issue 1–2, pp 11–22 | Cite as

The Politics of Bureaucracy and the failure of post-war reconstruction

  • Christopher J. Coyne
Article

Abstract

Gordon Tullock’s The Politics of Bureaucracy must be considered one of the most important works on bureaucracy ever written. In this paper, I argue that Tullock’s analysis of bureaucracy is as relevant as ever. To support this claim, I focus on U.S.-led reconstruction efforts which attempt to export liberal democracy via military occupation. Bureaucratic organizations play a key role in these reconstruction efforts and as such, Tullock’s analysis is directly relevant. It is argued that Tullock’s study clarifies not just the limits of bureaucratic activity, but also the importance of spontaneous orders for coordinating activities outside those limits and generating the very institutional context in which liberal democracy can evolve and sustain. The main conclusion is that the nature of public bureaucracy constrains the ability of the United States to exogenously impose liberal democratic institutions in foreign countries for the very reasons Tullock emphasized long ago.

Keywords

Bureaucracy Reconstruction Spontaneous order 

JEL

D73 P16 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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