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  1.  1
    Fighting Power with Power: The Administrative State as a Weapon Against Concentrated Private Power.Samuel Bagg - 2021 - Social Philosophy and Policy 38 (1):220-243.
    Contemporary critics of the administrative state are right to highlight the dangers of vesting too much power in a centralized bureaucracy removed from popular oversight and accountability. Too often neglected in this literature, however, are the dangers of vesting too little power in a centralized state, which enables dominant groups to further expand their social and economic advantages through decentralized means. This article seeks to synthesize these concerns, understanding them as reflecting the same underlying danger of state capture. It then (...)
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  2. “Administrative Constitutionalism”: Considering the Role of Agency Decision-Making in American Constitutional Development.David E. Bernstein - 2021 - Social Philosophy and Policy 38 (1):109-129.
    The last decade or so has seen an explosion of scholarship by American law professors on what has become known as administrative constitutionalism. Administrative constitutionalism is a catchphrase for the role of administrative agencies in influencing, creating, and establishing constitutional rules and norms, and governing based on those rules and norms. Though courts traditionally get far more attention in the scholarly literature and the popular imagination, administrative constitutionalism scholars show that administrative agencies have been extremely important participants in American constitutional (...)
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  3. Efficiency, Legitimacy, and the Administrative State.Samuel DeCanio - 2021 - Social Philosophy and Policy 38 (1):198-219.
    This essay examines certain epistemic problems facing administrative states’ efforts to draft efficient regulations for their societies. I argue that a basic feature of the administrative state’s authority, namely its monopoly over the production of legally binding rules for all members of a geographically defined society, creates epistemic problems that impede efficient rule-making. Specifically, the administrative state’s monopoly over the production of legally binding rules prevents multiple public policies from being simultaneously implemented and compared. The resulting singularity of administrative states’ (...)
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  4. Snap Exclusions and the Role of Citizen Participation in Policy-Making.Brian Hutler & Anne Barnhill - 2021 - Social Philosophy and Policy 38 (1):266-288.
    This essay uses a specific example—proposals to exclude sugary drinks from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program —to explore some features of the contemporary U.S. administrative state. Dating back to the Wilsonian origins of the U.S. administrative state there has been uncertainty about whether we can and should separate politics and administration. On the traditional view, the agencies are to be kept separate from politics—technocratic and value-neutral—although they are indirectly accountable to the president and Congress. The SNAP exclusions example shows, however, (...)
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  5.  2
    The Administrative State.Mario I. Juarez-Garcia & David Schmidtz - 2021 - Social Philosophy and Policy 38 (1):1-5.
    There has always been a tension, in theory, between the public accountability and the professional efficiency of the agencies of the administrative state. How has that tension been handled? What would it be like for it to be well handled?
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  6. The Fiduciary Social Contract.Gary Lawson - 2021 - Social Philosophy and Policy 38 (1):25-51.
    The United States Constitution is, in form and fact, a kind of fiduciary instrument, and government officials acting pursuant to that document are subject to the background rules of fiduciary obligation that underlie all such documents. One of the most basic eighteenth-century fiduciary rules was the presumptive rule against subdelegation of discretionary authority. The rule was presumptive only; there were recognized exceptions that permitted subdelegation when it was specifically authorized by the instrument of agency, when it was validated by custom (...)
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  7.  1
    Liberal Freedom, the Separation of Powers, and the Administrative State.Eric MacGilvray - 2021 - Social Philosophy and Policy 38 (1):130-151.
    Contemporary critiques of the administrative state are closely bound up with the distinctively American doctrine that republican freedom requires that the legislative, executive, and judicial powers be exercised by separate and distinct branches of government. The burden of this essay is to argue that legislative delegation and judicial deference to the administrative state are necessary, or at least highly desirable, features of a democratic separation of powers regime. I begin by examining the historical and conceptual roots of the separation of (...)
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  8. Richard T. Ely, the German Historical School of Economics, and the “Socio-Teleological” Aspiration of the New Deal Planners.Tiffany Jones Miller - 2021 - Social Philosophy and Policy 38 (1):52-84.
    Richard T. Ely was one of the most important architects of the administrative welfare state in the United States. His astonishingly influential career was the product of a fundamental re-thinking of the origin and nature of the state. Repudiating the social compact theory of the American founding in favor of a self-consciously “new,” “German,” and frankly “social” conception of the state ordered toward the realization of a collective vision of human perfection, Ely conceived the task of social reform as extending (...)
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  9. Administered Entitlements: Collective Bargaining to Affirmative Action.Paul Moreno - 2021 - Social Philosophy and Policy 38 (1):289-310.
    This essay tells the story of the development of two of the most significant and controversial entitlement programs in twentieth-century U.S. history—collective bargaining and affirmative action. It focuses on the nexus between them—how New Deal empowerment of labor unions contributed to racial discrimination, and thus fed the Great Society race-based programs of affirmative action. The evolving relationship between the courts and the bureaucracies is emphasized, particularly how the judiciary went from an obstacle to an enabler of the entitlement state.
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  10. Economists on Private Incentives, Economic Models, and the Administrative State: The Clash Between Happiness and the so-Called Public Good.Sandra J. Peart - 2021 - Social Philosophy and Policy 38 (1):152-169.
    This essay examines the administrative state as a ubiquitous phenomenon that results in part from the mismatch of incentives. Using two dramatic episodes in the history of economics, the essay considers two types of mismatch. It then examines how economists increasingly endorsed the “general good” as a unitary goal for society, even at the expense of private hopes and desires. More than this, their procedures and models gave them warrant to design mechanisms and advocate for legislation and regulations to “fix” (...)
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  11.  2
    Constitutional and Legal Challenges in the Administrative State.Ronald J. Pestritto - 2021 - Social Philosophy and Policy 38 (1):6-24.
    Following the Roosevelt administration’s implementation of New Deal programs in the 1930s, the federal courts began to interpret the Constitution in a way that accommodated the rise of the “administrative state,” and bureaucratic policymaking continues to persist as a central feature of American government today. This essay submits, however, that the three pillars supporting the administrative state—the congressional delegation of Article I powers to the executive branch, the combination of powers within individual administrative entities, and the insulation of administrators from (...)
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  12.  1
    The Ambiguity of Expertise in the Administrative State.Joseph Postell - 2021 - Social Philosophy and Policy 38 (1):85-108.
    When the modern administrative state emerged in America during the Progressive Era, at the beginning of the twentieth century, it was typically grounded on the premise that administrative officials are experts who should be insulated from politics. This theory, combined with emerging ideas of scientific management, contributed to the intellectual justification for the administrative state. However, progressives never fully reconciled the tension between this theory and the democratic nature of American politics. Because of this ambiguity and tension in the progressives’ (...)
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  13. Fiscal Equivalence: Principle and Predation in the Public Administration of Justice.Emily C. Skarbek - 2021 - Social Philosophy and Policy 38 (1):244-265.
    Fiscal equivalence in the public administration of justice requires local police and courts to be financed exclusively by the populations that benefit from their services. Within a polycentric framework, broad based taxation to achieve fiscal equivalence is a desirable principle of public finance because it conceptually allows for the provision of justice to be determined by constituent’s preferences, and increases the political accountability of service providers to constituents. However, the overproduction of justice services can readily occur when the benefits of (...)
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  14. Self-Governance, Robust Political Economy, and the Reform of Public Administration.Vlad Tarko - 2021 - Social Philosophy and Policy 38 (1):170-197.
    This essay explains how to use the calculus of consent framework to think more rigorously about self-governance, and applies this framework to the issue of evaluating federal regulatory agencies. Robust political economy is the idea that institutions should be designed to work well even under weak assumptions about decision-makers’ knowledge and benevolence. I show how the calculus of consent can be used to analyze both incentives and knowledge problems. The calculus is simultaneously a theory of self-governance and a tool for (...)
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  15.  59
    Fighting Power with Power: The Administrative State as a Weapon Against Concentrated Private Power.Samuel Bagg - 2021 - Social Philosophy and Policy 1 (38):220-243.
    Contemporary critics of the administrative state are right to highlight the dangers of vesting too much power in a centralized bureaucracy removed from popular oversight and accountability. Too often neglected in this literature, however, are the dangers of vesting too little power in a centralized state, which enables dominant groups to further expand their social and economic advantages through decentralized means. This article seeks to synthesize these concerns, understanding them as reflecting the same underlying danger of state capture. It then (...)
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