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How does representative government function when public administration has the authority to reshape democracy? This chapter sets up the problem of value reinforcement as an additional element to the traditional narrative of control and capability for legitimating public administration.
A value reinforcement hypothesis expects that governance structures reinforce the values of the representative governments they serve. If a political system embraces pluralism and collective rationality as process values, its governance structures will enhance those process beliefs. If a government faces strong electoral accountability, its governance structures will emphasize accountability values, making identifiable managers likely to face sanctions for their performance. Correlations such as these would be observed if the hypothesis has potential for guiding a positive research agenda. The value reinforcement hypothesis has both institutional and behavioral mechanisms behind it.
How does representative government function when public administration can reshape democracy? The traditional narrative of public administration balances the accountability of managers, a problem of control, with the need for effective administration, a problem of capability. The discretion modern governments give to administrators allows them to make tradeoffs among democratic values. This book challenges the traditional view with its argument that the democratic values of administration should complement the democratic values of the representative government within which they operate. Control, capability and value reinforcement can render public administration into democracy administered. This book offers a novel framework for empirically and normatively understanding how democratic values have, and should be, reinforced by public administration. Bertelli's theoretical framework provides a guide for managers and reformers alike to chart a path toward democracy administered.
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