Political Decisions and Agency Performance

  • René Torenvlied

Part of the Library of Public Policy and Public Administration book series (LPPP, volume 2)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. René Torenvlied
    Pages 1-18
  3. René Torenvlied
    Pages 19-45
  4. René Torenvlied
    Pages 47-88
  5. René Torenvlied
    Pages 89-121
  6. René Torenvlied
    Pages 123-182
  7. René Torenvlied
    Pages 183-220
  8. René Torenvlied
    Pages 221-243
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 245-293

About this book


All over the world, many people who live in urban areas find themselves in an arduous social situation. In the third world, people in overcrowded metropolitan areas have a problem in maintaining even the slightest standards of living. But also richer parts of the world, the United States, Europe and the far-East, show growing social inequalities in their cities. And social problems are not confined to the large metropolitan areas: impoverishment, long-term unemployment, social isolation, and the dependency on welfare programs pops up in medium-sized cities and even in smaller communities. At the same time, these cities are confronted with a growing bureaucratic conglomerate which is increasingly inapt to fight social degeneration. The catastrophe seems to be total: how to deal at once with declining social conditions and bureaucratic inadequacy? Two American authors, Osborne and Plastrik (1997), claim to have found the answer: just banish bureaucracy. The liberating accomplishments of the free market will elevate ordinary citizens and force lazy, incompetent bureaucrats to do their work properly. If they succeed, they survive. Otherwise, these agencies will vanish. They illustrate their arguments with the American city of 'Uphill Battle' which stopped its decline by reinventing government. Strict performance measures, allotting financial controls and incentives to the citizens, and improving accountability have saved the city. We should, however, be very careful in taking such measures so far that they banish bureaucracy. It is far from obvious that simply banishing bureaucracy indeed will help people in poor social situations.


Max Weber Policy Political Science Politics compliance

Authors and affiliations

  • René Torenvlied
    • 1
  1. 1.Utrecht UniversityThe Netherlands

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-94-010-5857-5
  • Online ISBN 978-94-011-4285-4
  • Series Print ISSN 1566-7669
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Finance, Business & Banking