Lovrich Jr., Nicholas P.
June 1985
Public Administration Quarterly;Summer85, Vol. 9 Issue 2, p163
Academic Journal
This article examines the scale and performance of public administration in the U.S. The conclusion that democratic administration would show a preference for small-scale enterprises over large-scale enterprises where such scales are appropriate to the domain of particular public goods and services would seem to be a premature prescription for action. Even in the area of police services, this prescription appears to be of questionable value at best. In other areas of public service, contradictory evidence is also to be found. It would seem that advocacy of a paradigm for public administration based upon such a weak theoretical and empirical foundation constitutes a serious misdirection of intellectual effort. Much of the empirical public choice research has the character of normal science wherein the researcher accepts the major assumptions of a particular model of reality and proceeds to bolster and extend the acceptance of that model by illustrative and confirmatory studies. Such research can be fairly criticized for its devotion to a prematurely accepted framework of yet unproven validity and usefulness. If public administration can encompass both the study of institutional arrangements with respect to size effects and the study of causes of differences in the performance of governmental units of the same size, then public administration will indeed come close to the kind of fruitful, open-minded search for knowledge.


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