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Bureaucratic Polarization

Guedes-Neto, João V. (2022) Bureaucratic Polarization. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Bureaucrats must cooperate to implement public policies. This means working with colleagues from different public organizations, lawyers and accountants from oversight agencies, political appointees, elected officials, etc. Each of these actors holds different, oftentimes conflicting, organizational identities. These attachments go beyond their rational interests and, as I demonstrate in this dissertation, become comparable to other social identities, like race, partisanship, and gender. This means that while bureaucrats see their colleagues as in-groups who share similar values, those working at different organizations are their out-groups who will most likely see the world through different lenses. Relying on a measurement that is well-established in social psychology, I demonstrate that the social distance between different public sector actors helps to understand conflict and cooperation in implementation processes. I refer to this phenomenon as bureaucratic polarization and show that it can change public policies and organizations. The empirical evidence combines face-to-face interviews conducted in two Brazilian states and multiple surveys and experiments fielded in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Brazil. These multiple pieces of research validate the generalizability of bureaucratic polarization as a theoretical framework and an estimation strategy to better understand coordination in public administration and the politics of policy implementation.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Guedes-Neto, João V.jog118@pitt.edujog1180000-0001-6881-1166
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairAmes, Barryames.barry@gmail.combarrya
Committee MemberPeters, B. Guybgpeters@pitt.edubgpeters0000-0001-9143-7547
Committee MemberMorgenstern, Scottscott_morgenstern@pitt.eduscott_morgenstern0000-0001-7258-8657
Committee MemberFinkel, Stevenfinkel@pitt.edufinkel0000-0002-9391-2732
Committee MemberBrehm,
Date: 17 June 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 28 March 2022
Approval Date: 17 June 2022
Submission Date: 6 April 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 247
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Political Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bureaucratic polarization, intergroup relations, comparative public administration, coordination problems, implementation politics
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2022 20:08
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2022 20:08


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