July, 2007

The Politics of Bureaucracy and the Failure of Post-War Reconstruction - Working Paper

  • Christopher Coyne

    Associate Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
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Gordon Tullock's The Politics of Bureaucracy must be considered one of the most important works on bureaucracy ever written. In addition to discussing Tullock's contribution to our understanding of bureaucracy, in this working paper Coyne contends that Tullock's insights on the topic remain relevant today. To support this claim, Coyne focuses on U.S.-led reconstruction efforts which attempt to export liberal democracy via military occupation. Bureaucratic organizations play a key role in these reconstruction efforts and as such, Tullock's analysis is directly relevant. It is argued that Tullock's study clarifies not just the limits of bureaucratic activity, but also the importance of spontaneous orders for coordinating activities outside those limits and generating the very institutional context in which liberal democracy can evolve and sustain.