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Democracy, State Stability and Public Administration

6 hour course by Tony Bertelli (IBEI-Pennsylvania State University)

  • Schedule29-30 June & 1 July (15:00 - 17:00)

Can public administration help democracy to work better? To address this question, this seminar explores the role of discretionary authority in the implementation of public policies.  We address questions of how administrative discretion is (and is not) consistent with the values of representative democracy. We ask whether domestic public administration is fundamental to state stability, and we explore the ways it is constructed to serve that aim.  We also consider the consequences for democracy implied by such a focus on stability and how international organizations confront (or evade) key trade-offs. Our approach is multi-disciplinary, engaging the work of scholars in fields such as political science, philosophy, sociology, and economics. Students will develop a better understanding of what public administration does in modern states, how to think about proposals to reform it, and how it contributes to debates about democratization and democratic backsliding.