Ian Turner - American Politics Speaker Series


Wednesday, April 25, 2018, 4:30pm to 6:00pm


K262, CGIS Knafel Building, 1737 Cambridge St.

"Reviewing Procedure vs. Judging Substance: The Scope of Review and Bureaucratic Policymaking"
Ian Turner, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Yale University

How does the scope of review affect bureaucratic policymaking incentives? To explore this question, I consider a simple policymaking environment in which an expert agency develops policy that is upheld or overturned by an overseer who may have different policy goals. The agency can affect the quality of implementation through effort investments in addition to choosing the substantive content of policy. Under procedural review the overseer only reviews the agency's effort, which allows the agency to fully utilize its expertise, but may harm effort incentives. Substantive review also tasks the overseer with judging agencies' substantive policy choices, which introduces a fundamental trade-off between agency utilization of expertise and effort investment due to pathological policy choices made by the agency. The theory characterizes when less transparent oversight, procedural review, is optimal relative to more transparent, substantive review. The results speak to when agencies should be insulated from substantive review.

This talk is part of the American Politics Speaker Series, organized by Prof. Jon Rogowski and sponsored by the Harvard Department of Government and the Center for American Political Studies (CAPS). This event is free and open to the public. 

See also: Seminar