“Bureaucrats Writing Bills,” Mary Kroeger, UNC Chapel Hill

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Wednesday, September 16, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:15pm
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Abstract: Bureaucratic influence in policymaking is often described as occurring subsequent to the legislative process and scholar argue that the legislative branch strategically constrains the bureaucracy via statutory language. A reality which potentially complicates these claims is that bureaucrats frequently play a role in creating the laws which ultimately govern their behavior. This project examines the extent to which bureaucrats attempt to and succeed in securing their preferred statutory language. I track bills introduced at bureaucrats’ request across 11 state legislatures. Some legislatures extensively draw from agencies’ expertise in forming the agenda and crafting session law, with 9% of introduced bills and 21% of session law coming from bureaucrats. Using a difference-in-differences analysis, I find that committee chairs and legislators who belong to the chamber majority introduce more administration-initiated bills. These findings have implications for the study of statutory control of the bureaucracy and separation of powers.

Mary Kroeger is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her research interests are in U.S. state politics, American political institutions, bureaucratic-legislative interactions, policy diffusion, and quantitative methods. She tests theories about information provision on the state level. Professor Kroeger’s research examines the differential utilization of model legislation, group-sponsored bills in the California state legislature, and change in bill text over the legislative process.

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