Bureaucracy: A Profound Puzzle for Presidentialism
Modem states need a system of public administration that is capable of implementing its policies well enough to satisfy its citizens and also to retain the support of its bureaucrats. Two variable dimensions of the bureaucratic design profoundly affect both the extent of bureaucratic power and the administrative capabilities of a bureaucracy: duration in office and the qualifications of officeholders. Empowered officials are better administrators than powerless ones, provided they cannot become politically dominant. A relatively stable semipowerful bureaucracy has emerged in the United States during the last century as a result of its exceptional mixture of short-termers and professionalized careerists. This mixture has enhanced the regime’s administrative capabilities while curtailing bureaucratic power. The countries that experienced few or no military coups made the transition to modem bureaucracy before experiencing a radical proliferation in the number of salaried officials. Patronage has been largely eliminated in contemporary parliamentary regimes in favor of careerist bureaucracies.