Hsu, "Institutions and bureaucratic behavior in budgeting: The case of Taiwan," 1994
Jen-Hui Hsu, Ph.D.
Both Public Choice theory and incrementalism argue that bureaucracy has a disproportionate influence on budgeting. They fail to take into full account variations in bureaucratic motivations and in institutional contexts. Seldom systematically considered are the formal and informal institutional factors that determine the interactions among budgetary participants.
From the Public Choice perspective, Taiwan provides a favorable environment for bureaucrats to assert their monopoly power to succeed in maximizing budgets. The Taiwanese bureaucracy not only possesses information power but authority to control the budget agenda. Taiwan's bureaucrats rarely face problems of uncertainty and complexity when they deal with the legislature. However, in reality, Taiwan's bureaucrats are conservative in their budget requests. What are the institutional factors that impose a regulatory force on these bureaucrats' conduct?
This study, based upon the New Institutionalist perspective, examines how incentives and constraints within Taiwan's institutional context shape bureaucrats' budgeting objectives and behavior. The study shows that Taiwan's formal institutional administrative structure, hierarchically-oriented bureaucracy, budgetary rules that emphasize accountability and checks and balances, line-item budgeting--all serve to limit bureaucrats' chances to succeed in maximizing their budgets. Informal constraints, which come from social and cultural contexts (such as social status, self-discipline, moral virtue, and group orientation), also act to curb bureaucrats' self-interest seeking behavior.
To encourage appropriate budget preparation and effective budget execution, Taiwan's experiences illustrate the need to foster officials' public service motivations, to change their work values, to create an environment that emphasizes moral behavior, to improve government officials' social status, as well as to use both monetary and non-monetary incentives as steering mechanisms. In addition, appropriate institutional arrangements can be used to improve the accuracy of budget requests. (Copies available exclusively from Micrographics Department, Doheny Library, USC, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0182.)
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