The federal government increasingly relies on nongovernmental organizations for procuring goods and services. This long-term trend presents a significant challenge for administrators because it risks the egalitarian values of democracy by further distancing administrative action from direct, participative, democratic oversight. The authors put forward a theory of representative bureaucracy as a way to reconcile democracy with the reality of the contemporary policy process in which unelected officials are the principal decision makers. The theory is tested in the domain of federal procurement, specifically within the contract award decisions of 60 federal agencies over three years. The authors argue that increased minority representation in leadership positions results in an increased proportion of federal contracts awarded to small minority-owned firms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Public Administration