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Thinking about Bureaucracy: Mises versus Niskanen


  • Radu Simandan

    () (Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Romania)


In this paper, I oppose the Misesian insight on the problem of bureaucracy to the theory of Niskanen. Assuming that bureaucracy is merely a symptom of a more serious disease – namely socialism – the Misesian perspective is an analysis of the economic, political, and psychological consequences of the incentives and constraints that bureaucrats face. Niskanen’s analysis focuses on the characteristics of the political environment in which bureaucrats act. Applying the Public Choice theory to the study of bureaucratic behavior, Niskanen shows that bureaucrats have a strong incentive to try to maximize the bureau’s budget.

Suggested Citation

  • Radu Simandan, 2009. "Thinking about Bureaucracy: Mises versus Niskanen," Romanian Economic Journal, Department of International Business and Economics from the Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest, vol. 12(34), pages 85-96, (4).
  • Handle: RePEc:rej:journl:v:12:y:2009:i:34:p:85-96

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    More about this item


    Austrian economics; Public Choice; public sector economics; bureaucracy;

    JEL classification:

    • B25 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Austrian; Stockholm School
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration


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