This paper develops a theory of bureaucratic inuence on distributive politics. While there exists a rich literature on the effects of institutions such as presidents, electoral systems, and bicameralism on government spending, the role of professional bureaucrats has yet to receive formal scrutiny. In the model, legislators bargain over the allocation of distributive benefits across districts. The legislature may either "politicize" a program by bargaining directly over pork and bypassing bureaucratic scrutiny, or "professionalize" it by letting a bureaucrat approve or reject project funding in each district according to an underlying quality standard. The model predicts that the legislature will professionalize when the expected program quality is high. However, politicization becomes more likely as the number of high quality projects increases, and under divided government. Further, more competent bureaucrats can encourage politicization if the expected program quality is low. Finally, politicized programs are larger than professionalized programs.
Focus areas: Political economy, American politics, organizational design, bureaucracy, elections
Michael Ting's primary research interest is in formal models of political institutions, with an emphasis on bureaucracy, elections and legislatures. Currently, he is pursuing projects including the relationship between institutions and distributive politics, election endorsements and the regulation of pharmaceuticals.
Professor Ting received his BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his MA from Harvard University and his PhD in political economics from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Prior to joining the Department of Political Science and SIPA, he taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Recent publications include:
- "Distributive Politics with Primaries," with James Snyder and Shigeo Hirano in the Journal of Politics (2009)
- "Whistleblowing," in the American Political Science Review (2008)
- "Regulatory Errors with Endogenous Agendas," with Daniel Carpenter in the American Journal of Political Science (2007)
- "Roll Calls, Party Labels, and Elections," with James Snyder in Political Analysis (2003)
- "Bargaining in Bicameral Legislatures: When and Why Does Malapportionment Matter?" with Stephen Ansolabehere and James Snyder in American Political Science Review (2003)
- "Recovering Behavioralism: Adaptively Rational Behavior with Endogenous Aspirations," with Jonathan Bendor and Daniel Diermeier in Computational Models in Political Economy (2003).