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Overseeing Oversight: New Departures and Old Problems

Morris S. Ogul and Bert A. Rockman
Legislative Studies Quarterly
Vol. 15, No. 1 (Feb., 1990), pp. 5-24
Published by: Washington University
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/439999
Page Count: 20
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Overseeing Oversight: New Departures and Old Problems
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Abstract

In this article, we analyze recent scholarly writing on legislative control of bureaucracy. Once a neglected area of research, this literature has expanded substantially and has become more sophisticated. Still, many basic problems remain unresolved. We find, for example, difficulties in choosing between theoretical elegance and empirical validity. We note problems of choosing between competing conceptions of self-interest as a motivating force. We note also conflict over the relevance of context as it relates to incentives and opportunities. Despite substantial progress in thinking about oversight, we conclude that these basic problems remain unresolved. Especially prominent are gaps in the analysis of the impacts of oversight. We conclude that an institutional focus broader than the legislature is essential to coming to grips with many of these issues.

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