Konsekvensen af motiver hos bureaukrater samt brugen af semimarkedsløsninger – et studie af Anthony Downs Public Choice perspektiv

Bent J. Outzen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The study examines the role of the bureaucrats in the public sector and what negative effect their behaviour might have on their organization and the public economy. The use of quasi market solutions in the Danish public sector is expanding and it is a growing topic in the parliament and in the local municipalities. This makes it interesting to exam-ine what the reason for using these new solutions is. The main perspective has been to use Public Choice theory as a tool for analysing if the bureaucrats and their behaviour as self-interested utility maximizing individuals have an effect on their organization and the society. The methodology is therefore individualistic and a study of human action. The question is what kind of problems are visible in the public sector with a Public Choice perspective when it comes to bureaucrats, and if these problems can be solved with the instruments that are found in quasi market solutions. To answer these ques-tions theories about Government Failure, Public Choice, and quasi markets are being analyzed. Anthony Downs’ definition and theory of bureaucrats and bureaucracies is used to explain the bureaucrat’s behavior. Downs lists nine different motives that bu-reaucrats might have, spanning from self-interest to altruism. From these motives Downs deduces that there are five different types of bureaucrats. The sum of the differ-ent bureaucrats’ behavior grounded in the chase for their private goal shapes the way the bureaucracy works. Due to the fact that bureaucracies are not connected to a market with voluntary exchange there is no or very little competition. The absence of a market can lead to Government Failure a theory that is linked to Public Choice. Charles Jr. Wolf explains this by showing the presence of what he calls internalities, private goals, de-rived and rising costs. That is the situation where bureaucrats are involved in Govern-ment Failure. The main problem is the lack of competition in the public sector and the role of the individual bureaucrat in this. The consequence would among other things be low productivity, rising costs, no evaluation of the output, lack of innovation and ab-sence of consumer influence. If the axioms of the Public Choice theory are accepted a possible solution seems to be the creation of competition and thereby opening up the bureaucracies. There is a so-called grey area between the public and private sector where public monopolies operate without it being highly necessary. By using quasi market solutions such as voucher in school it is possible to transform teachers and prin-ciples from bureaucrats into market agents. This may solve some of the mentioned problems.

EducationsAdministration, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Graduate
Publication date23 Apr 2010
SupervisorsAnders Larsen


  • Patrick Dunleavy
  • Bureaukratier
  • Anthony Downs
  • Offentlig privat partnerskab
  • Styringsredskaber
  • Bureaukrater
  • public choice
  • udlicitering
  • William Niskanen