IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this book

The Logic of Bureaucratic Conduct


  • Breton,Albert
  • Wintrobe,Ronald


In this work the authors present a general theory of bureaucracy and use it to explain behaviour in large organizations and to explain what determines efficiency in both governments and business corporations. The theory uses the methods of standard neoclassical economic theory. It relies on two central principles: that members of an organization trade with one another and that they compete with one another. Authority, which is the basis for conventional theories of bureaucracy, is given a role, despite reliance on the idea of trade between bureaucracies. It is argued, however, that bureaucracies cannot operate efficiently on the basis of authority alone. Exchange between bureaucrats is hampered because promises are not enforceable. So trust and loyalty between members of bureaucratic networks play an important part. The authors find that vertical networks promote efficiency while horizontal ones impede it.

Suggested Citation

  • Breton,Albert & Wintrobe,Ronald, 2008. "The Logic of Bureaucratic Conduct," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521071727, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:cbooks:9780521071727

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Conybeare, John A C & Murdoch, James C & Sandler, Todd, 1994. "Alternative Collective-Goods Models of Military Alliances: Theory and Empirics," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(4), pages 525-542, October.
    2. Coase, R H, 1976. "Adam Smith's Views of Man," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 529-546, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:cbooks:9780521071727. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ruth Austin). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.