Assessing Determinants of Bureaucratic Discretion: An Experiment in Street-Level Decision Making
This article reports findings from an experimental analogue that examined the influence of several potential determinants of bureaucratic discretion in street-level bureaucracies. The findings showed that two factors, the level of organizational control and client characteristics, played an influential role in the awarding of benefits and services to clients seeking public assistance. A third factor, professional field, was also a determinant of award, although the level of its influence was far less than organizational and client-related factors. In contrast to several prior studies, individual decision-maker attributes were found to be among the least influential determinants of award. Together these findings show how factors extraneous to client need contribute to differential judgments and treatment of clients, and they serve to qualify traditional role conceptions of the front line service provider as described in the literature on street-level bureaucracy.
Scott, Patrick G. "Assessing determinants of bureaucratic discretion: An experiment in street-level decision making." Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 7, no. 1 (1997): 35-58.
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory