First Advisor

Craig W. Shinn

Term of Graduation

Spring 2008

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Administration and Policy


Public Administration




Administrative agencies -- United States -- Management, Public administration -- United States, Federal government -- United States -- 21st century, United States -- Politics and government -- 21st century



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, xvii, 496 pages)


President Reagan and each succeeding President exerted significant effort to scale back the size and scope of federal executive branch agencies, a pressure that can be characterized as constrained federalism. This phenomenon is described by Kettl (2000) as the theory of New Public Management. I observe and theorize that a new form of governance is emerging as an unintended consequence of constrained federalism's attempt to replace governance with management in the name of efficiency.

This new form of governance arises when federal public administrators and citizens work together in partnerships to mitigate the immediate and more subtle adverse effects of constrained federalism. These partnerships have potential to remedy New Public Management's reported shrinkage of democracy (R. C. Box, Marshall, Reed, & Reed, 2001), and its flawed belief that management reform will solve fundamentally political problems. This hypothesized new form casts public administrators in an active role of constitutive governance by harnessing the power of special interests to public purposes, thereby giving citizens opportunities to reinvigorate democracy through civic engagement.

My research (a) investigates the nature and occurrence of this new form of governance in the domain of federal natural resource management, (b) determines its potential to reinvigorate democracy, (c) assesses its potential to reform fundamentally political problems, and (d) establishes standards for its practice. I posit two new theories to synthesize the findings of my research. The theory of New Public Governance describes the newly emerging form of citizen engagement in governance that arises from federal administrators' response to pressures of constrained federalism. Federal Principal-Agent Theory prescribes how administrators must operate within the space created by New Public Governance to redeem their fundamental duties as public officials in our Constitutional federal republic.


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