Butler on using field experiments to improve governance (Public Sector Digest)

A recent article, “Monitoring Bureaucratic Compliance: Using Field Experiments to Improve Governance,” by Dan Butler, appeared in the Winter issue of Public Sector Digest.

Abstract: How do legislators get bureaucrats to implement the laws they pass? McCubbins and Schwartz (1984) suggest that ‘fire alarms’ (i.e. where the legislators rely on citizens and organized interest groups to let them know about instances of bureaucratic non-compliance), provide a cost-effective way to achieve this compliance. This paper reports on the results of a field experiment done in Kentucky that tests whether interest groups can improve bureaucratic compliance by informing the bureaucrats that they plan to audit them and make the results public.