Credibility and agency termination under parliamentarism
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory
© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Inc. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
We investigate the lifespan and risk of termination of 723 arm’s length agencies in the United Kingdom between 1985 and 2008, an under investigated question in parliamentary systems. We hypothesise that termination risk depends on three groups of factors: (1) factors relating to the rationales for initial delegation of responsibility to the arm’s length agency; (2) factors relating to the political and economic position of the government; and (3) factors relating to the institutional form of the agency. We find that agencies intended to generate credible commitments in regulation are less likely than others to be terminated in any given year. Agencies operating under right-wing governments and under heavily indebted governments are more likely to be terminated, although left-wing governments are more sensitive to the effects of debt. Agencies structured as executive non-departmental public bodies and non-ministerial departments are also longer-lived than others. Contrary to expectations about arm’s length agencies in parliamentary systems with single-party government, partisan change does not affect the risk of termination.
This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Public Administration Research And Theory following peer review. The version of record Journal of Public Administration Research And Theory, 2016, 159–173 doi:10.1093/jopart/muu050 is available online at: http://jpart.oxfordjournals.org/content/26/1/159
Vol 26, no.1. pp.159-173