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The Economic Theory of Bureaucracy: Insights from the Niskanian Model and the Misesian Approach

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07/30/2014Laurent Carnis

Volume 12, No. 3 (2009)

 

Governmental interventions in the economy take numerous forms, and they require the existence of a public authority, a bureaucracy, to implement them. This article proposes an analysis of the origins and the dynamics of bureaucracy, and discusses means of escaping bureaucracy’s disadvantages. I will proceed by means of a comparison between the theories of Niskanen and Mises, two impressive and very representative works from the Public Choice School and the Austrian School of economics. Although Mises and Niskanen share a common analysis of the defect of bureaucratic management, there are strong disagreements between the two authors about the reasons for the existence of bureaus and about their functioning and their deficiencies. Inevitably, the means proposed by Niskanen and Mises for escaping the disadvantages of bureaucracy are different and can not be reconciled.

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Carnis, Laurent A. H. "The Economic Theory of Bureaucracy: Insights from the Niskanian Model and the Misesian Approach." The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics 12, No. 3 (2009): 57–78.

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