Overman, S. (2016). Great Expectations of Autonomous Agencies (Doctoral Dissertation).
Over the last two decades, the call for autonomous agencies has reverberated throughout all corners of the globe: many governments – from Great-Britain to Japan, from Tanzania to America – were unbundled into smaller agencies with a certain degree of autonomy. In most cases, these agencies carry out public services with sovereignty over policy design, decision-making and managerial matters. They are nonetheless tied to their respective ministry, because the political executives bear the responsibility for their performance. Well-known examples of services that are executed at arm’s length include tax collection, benefits administration, and scientific research. The rationale behind this agencification is that agencies are better equipped to deliver public services than the rather unwieldy government. Both the great expectations and the proliferation of semi-autonomous agencies raise the question whether the creation of these agencies is justified – i.e. whether their effects are in line with prior expectations.
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