Shaun Bevan
Bureaucratic Responsiveness: The Effects of Government, Public and European Attention on the UK Bureaucracy

Public Administration, 2015: 93, issue 1, pp. 139-158
ISSN: 0033-3298 (print); 1467-9299 (online)

What determines the bureaucratic agenda? This paper combines insights from models of bureaucratic behavior with agenda-setting models of government attention to test the effects of elected government, public and EU agendas on the bureaucratic agenda. Using time series cross-sectional analyses of subject and ministry coded data on UK statutory instruments from 1987 to 2008 I find strong effects for both the elected government and EU legislative agendas on UK statutory instruments. Furthermore, by breaking the data into different sets based on its relationship with the EU several logical differences in these effects are found. These results include the EU agenda having exclusive influence on instruments implementing EU directives and the UK agenda being the sole driver of bureaucratic attention on those instruments that mention the EU but do not implement EU legislation. This paper opens a new avenue for research on bureaucracy by approaching it as a unique policy-making institution.