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Article: Agencies and policy in an administrative state: The case of Hong Kong

TitleAgencies and policy in an administrative state: The case of Hong Kong
Authors
Issue Date2012
Citation
Policy and Society, 2012, v. 31, n. 3, p. 223-235 How to Cite?
AbstractA survey of agency chief executives in Hong Kong found that they perceive themselves to have high levels of policy autonomy. This could be interpreted in two ways: either that agency chiefs perceive they can exert power over their 'principals' through taking advantage of information asymmetries and by adopting other stratagems to evade supervision; or that they feel they possess influence through mutually supportive participation in policy-making with their supervising bureau officials and principal officials (or 'ministers'). The institutional context of Hong Kong's administrative state, in particular the integrated and inclusive nature of the civil service career system; the absence of an elected political leadership; and the key representational roles played by various boards and panels associated with agencies, makes the second interpretation more plausible. In support of this argument, evidence is drawn from interviews with senior officials in seven Hong Kong agencies, supported by case study material. We find evidence of a number of aspects of the policy roles of agencies which are mutually agreed, rational adaptations to this institutional context, such as partitioning the policy field (when the political executive and the supervising policy bureau formally or informally vacate part of the policy field and delegate it to the agency); filling a policy vacuum (when the political executive voluntarily vacates the field altogether); and acting in a segmented policy process (when agencies are allowed to take the lead in agenda-setting and/or exercise high levels of flexibility and adaptability in the implementation process). These features of relations between agencies, policy bureaus and the political executive are not the product of principal-agent conflict but of mutual cooperation and adaptation. © 2012 Policy and Society Associates (APSS).
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/222650
ISSN
2015 Impact Factor: 0.944
2015 SCImago Journal Rankings: 0.330

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorPainter, Martin-
dc.contributor.authorYee, Wai Hang-
dc.date.accessioned2016-01-19T03:36:44Z-
dc.date.available2016-01-19T03:36:44Z-
dc.date.issued2012-
dc.identifier.citationPolicy and Society, 2012, v. 31, n. 3, p. 223-235-
dc.identifier.issn1449-4035-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/222650-
dc.description.abstractA survey of agency chief executives in Hong Kong found that they perceive themselves to have high levels of policy autonomy. This could be interpreted in two ways: either that agency chiefs perceive they can exert power over their 'principals' through taking advantage of information asymmetries and by adopting other stratagems to evade supervision; or that they feel they possess influence through mutually supportive participation in policy-making with their supervising bureau officials and principal officials (or 'ministers'). The institutional context of Hong Kong's administrative state, in particular the integrated and inclusive nature of the civil service career system; the absence of an elected political leadership; and the key representational roles played by various boards and panels associated with agencies, makes the second interpretation more plausible. In support of this argument, evidence is drawn from interviews with senior officials in seven Hong Kong agencies, supported by case study material. We find evidence of a number of aspects of the policy roles of agencies which are mutually agreed, rational adaptations to this institutional context, such as partitioning the policy field (when the political executive and the supervising policy bureau formally or informally vacate part of the policy field and delegate it to the agency); filling a policy vacuum (when the political executive voluntarily vacates the field altogether); and acting in a segmented policy process (when agencies are allowed to take the lead in agenda-setting and/or exercise high levels of flexibility and adaptability in the implementation process). These features of relations between agencies, policy bureaus and the political executive are not the product of principal-agent conflict but of mutual cooperation and adaptation. © 2012 Policy and Society Associates (APSS).-
dc.languageeng-
dc.relation.ispartofPolicy and Society-
dc.titleAgencies and policy in an administrative state: The case of Hong Kong-
dc.typeArticle-
dc.description.natureLink_to_subscribed_fulltext-
dc.identifier.doi10.1016/j.polsoc.2012.07.004-
dc.identifier.scopuseid_2-s2.0-84865791752-
dc.identifier.hkuros263058-
dc.identifier.volume31-
dc.identifier.issue3-
dc.identifier.spage223-
dc.identifier.epage235-

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