Political Science | Public Law & Policy: Decision Making in Institutions
Y665 | 13671 | Braman


Decision Making in Institutions

In this class we will discuss influences on decision making in
democratic institutions focusing largely on American bureaucracy and
courts.  We will explore the need for specialization in policy
making keeping in mind the advantages and disadvantages of
institutional designs from both psychological institutional
perspectives. Two major themes will include Simon’s conception
of “bounded rationality,” and principal-agent models of delegation
(with a discussion of attendant problems such as information
incongruity and “bureaucratic drift” as agents strive to achieve
greater autonomy and “slack”).  There will also be some discussion
of alternative theories of regulation – (i.e. who seeks the
intervention of government decision makers and why) and the role of
expertise in adjudication and policy making.