Bureaucratic politics results from the self-determination and self-interest of administrative bodies. Rational principles like hierarchical structures, strict rules of law, high division of labor, and detailed record-keeping typically indicate their bureaucratic activities. These machineries, operated by nonelected officials, are actually separated from political powers exercised by elected leaders. However, agency discretion and bureaucratic drift can arise from technical expertise, in particular when the uncertainty about implementation pathways is high and the policy conflict between legislators increases. After describing the classical dichotomy of bureaucracy and politics, this entry introduces research on bureaucratic politics that explains the autonomy of administrative bodies, quantifies its importance, and raises questions about democratic or economic drawbacks. Moreover, this entry outlines the more specific meaning of the bureaucratic politics approach in ...

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