Is stress among street-level bureaucrats associated with experiences of administrative burden among clients? A multilevel study of the Danish unemployment sector

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Research on street-level bureaucracy argues that factors such as stress and burnout affect the behaviors of street-level bureaucrats toward clients. At the same time, the literature on administrative burdens argues that citizens face a series of costs when they experience policy implementation as onerous. We draw on both literatures to theorize ways in which street-level bureaucrats' behavioral responses to stress states may influence client experiences of administrative burden. Using a multilevel dataset of unemployment counselors and unemployment benefit recipients from 53 departments of a Danish unemployment insurance fund, we find that stress states among counselors are positively associated with benefit recipients' experiences of both learning costs, compliance costs, and experiences of autonomy loss. We conclude by discussing limitations and practical implications. In particular, we call for research into how street-level bureaucrat characteristics influence client experiences of administrative burden.

TidsskriftPublic Administration Review
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)248-260
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - 1 mar. 2024


  • Administrative burden
  • Street-level bureaucracy
  • Stress
  • Burnout
  • Unemployment

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