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Columbia Law School

2013

Administrative Law

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Republic Of Choosing: A Behaviorist Goes To Washington, William H. Simon Jan 2013

The Republic Of Choosing: A Behaviorist Goes To Washington, William H. Simon

Faculty Scholarship

Cass Sunstein’s book Simpler recounts the author’s efforts during his tenure in the first Obama administration to apply the policy tools he helped derive from behavioral economics. In this review, I suggest that, while Sunstein reports some notable achievements, he exaggerates the utility of the behaviorist toolkit. Behaviorist-inspired interventions are marginal to most of the largest policy problems, and they played little role in the Obama administration’s most important initiatives. The book also reflects a misguided political strategy.


The Organizational Premises Of Administrative Law, William H. Simon Jan 2013

The Organizational Premises Of Administrative Law, William H. Simon

Faculty Scholarship

Administrative law is out of touch with forms of public administration developed since the Progressive and New Deal eras. It is strongly influenced by bureaucratic conceptions of administration that see (1) legitimacy in terms of prior authorization; (2) organization as a balance of stable rules and unaccountable discretion, and (3) error detection as a reactive, complaint-driven process. Yet, many public programs developed since the 1970s strive to establish post-bureaucratic or performance-based forms of administration that view (1) legitimacy in terms of exposure to public oversight; (2) administration as a matter of comprehensive but flexible planning, and (3) error detection as ...