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Keeping a Watchful eye: The Politics of Congressional Oversight / Edition 1

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Overview

Congressional oversight activity has increased dramatically since the early 1970s. Congressional committees now spend more of their time holding hearings to review the activities of federal agencies, and committee staff members are busy collecting information about what goes on during program implementation.

This book examines the reasons behind the surprising growth of congressional oversight. Using original data collected for this project, Joel D. Aberbach documents the increase in oversight activity and links it to changes in the political environment. He explores the political purposes served by oversight, the techniques Congress uses to uncover information about the activities of the federal bureaucracy, and the reasons why topics get on the oversight agenda. He concludes that even though the U.S. government system was not designed with a large administrative sector in mind, its ability to expose bureaucratic behavior to public scrutiny is impressive, and the Congress plays a vital role in this endeavor.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book is an exceptionaly well-executed piece of thinking and research. It says more interesting and useful things about legislative oversight than any other book available. This is a genuinely important book that will have a major impact in this field." —Morris S. Ogul, University of Pittsburgh

"Joel Aberbach goes far to connect the ideals implied in Keeping a Watchful Eye with the realities of The Politics of Congressional Oversight. This book is... a broad-scale examination of oversight and it ranks as the best single overview of this growing and increasingly important congressional function." —Frederick M. Kaiser, Congressional Reseach Service

"uses a wealth of original data to dispel several widely credited myths concerning congressional oversight of the bureaucracy.... There is no other single work that covers congressional oversight and management of the bureaucracy with such insight and depth. -" —Matthew D. McCubbins, University of California, San Diego

"...the definitive treatment of the subject. -" —Legislative Information Alert

Booknews
Aberbach (political science, UCLA) looks at the conditions that give rise to congressional oversight and details how Congress secures information about federal departments, agencies, and commissions, and the programs and policies they administer. He considers congressional oversight--how much is done and what gets on the oversight agendas--within the context of a dynamic political environment. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815700593
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1990
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Lexile: 1650L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.03 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Joel D. Aberbach, former senior fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings, is professor of political science and director of the Center for American Politics and Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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