Offices of Inspectors General (OIGs), like other government accountability mechanisms, promise increased control, improved performance, and appropriate behavior from governmental actors. OIGs pursue these goals by monitoring governmental programs and operations and providing their findings to legislative or executive decision makers and/or the public, who may act on the OIGs' findings and recommendations. OIGs have enjoyed popularity in the United States recently. In 1974, neither federal, state, nor local governments had adopted a single civilian OIG; however, at the end of 2013, there were 73 federal, 109 state, 47 local, and three multijurisdictional OIGs. Yet we know very little about why OIGs are spreading, how they are designed, and what happens upon implementation. Using the lenses of neo-institutional organizational theory, agenda-setting, and bureaucratic politics, this dissertation advances a three-part thesis. First, OIGs are spreading across jurisdictions because they are seen as an organizational answer to the perceived problem of governmental waste, fraud, and abuse. The OIG concept has institutionalized, embodying the ideal of accountability. Documentary data demonstrate widespread agreement on key elements of an ideal OIG's design and function. Second, although powerful political elites embrace the OIG concept, they push back against the potential implications of an OIG having too much independence or power by adopting design changes that sometimes leave an OIG in a weakened form. In other words, although the symbol of increased accountability is desirable, actual accountability often is suspect. Third, during implementation, those being overseen by an OIG often take steps to avoid or limit the OIG's oversight. In response, OIG personnel act in strategic ways to protect their offices and the accountability mission. As a result, OIGs become "politicized bureaucracies," agencies that must engage in political maneuvering to effectively perform the duties they are assigned. These observations are supported by a comparison of all state and local OIGs adopted from 1975 through 2013, using an organizational survey and supplementary documentary data, and in-depth case studies of 38 state and local OIGs, including interviews with OIG officials at these OIGs. Data analyses includes a multivariate event history analysis and systematic qualitative analyses of documents and interviews.
|Advisor:||Epp, Charles R.|
|Commitee:||Frederickson, H. George, Goodyear, Marilu, Loomis, Burdett A., Maynard-Moody, Steven W., O'Leary, Rosemary|
|School:||University of Kansas|
|School Location:||United States -- Kansas|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Political science, Public administration, Public policy|
|Keywords:||Government accountability, Institutionalization, Offices of inspector general, Oversight, Policy diffusion, Subnational government|
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