This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Representative Bureaucracy across Diverse Policy Spaces: An analysis of the relationship between the attitudes and perceptions of street-level bureaucrats and advocacy for client interest of shared identity




Barnes, Alicia

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Political Science


This study investigates the relationship between the major components of representative bureaucracy theory (RBT) across diverse policy spaces. After examining the existing literature, it becomes clear that a comprehensive analysis of passive representation, worker attitudes, and macro-level constraints is lacking. Additionally, these concepts have not been explored across different policy areas. Using survey data from the General Social Survey (GSS) and survey data collected across three states in the major regions of the United States, this study helps us better understand the relationship between these factors. The findings support a relationship between shared identity and advocacy within the realm of socially constructed policy spaces and suggest that attitudes play an important role in advocacy. Additionally, the data indicates that when the worker and client demographics are dissimilar, attitudes in support of advocacy developed through experience and exposure-rather than group membership. This study suggests that while traditional points of identification are strong indicators of active representation, less visible points of identification also play a role. Future research is needed to determine the extent of attitudes impact on advocacy behaviors.