Organizations and Exclusion: An Inquiry Into Bureaucratic Proceduralism.

February 2008

Evelyn Z. Brodkin, Malay Majmundar.

Download 'working_paper08-05.pdf'.


Abstract

This inquiry takes up the question of how bureaucratic proceduralism operates in benefits delivery and, specifically, whether it produced exclusionary effects in the case of welfare delivery. Bureaucratic proceduralism, a construct of this analysis, is defined as organizational practices occurring through the interaction of formal rules and procedures with informal administrative activities. This focus on proceduralism directs empirical attention to the processes that affect the cost of claiming, not on the categorical standards for eligibility themselves. It recognizes that eligibility rules are not self-executing, but depend on the formal and informal steps, interactions, and judgments that constitute the business of claimsmaking at the street-level.

Using data from the National Survey of America’s Families, this inquiry addresses two empirical questions. First, was bureaucratic proceduralism a factor in declining welfare caseloads in the period post-welfare reform? Second, did proceduralism have differential effects on welfare claimants, depending on their socio-economic status, race, or ethnicity? That is, did proceduralism produce inequality in access to benefits? This analysis builds on and contributes to the theoretical and empirical literature on street-level bureaucracy and welfare administration. Beyond these analytic concerns, it has practical implications for welfare administration as well as political implications for administrative justice.



Keywords:
Food Assistance Programs and Food Security, Social Welfare Programs and Policies, Welfare Reform and the Administration of Welfare Programs