Administrative Justice in Street-Level Decision-Making: Equal Treatment and Responsiveness
Nadine Raaphorst wrote an chapter for The Oxford Handbook of Administrative Justice about how two notions of fairness are studied in street-level bureaucracy literature and about the factors that influence how bureaucrats behave in this regard.
- Nadine Raaphorst
- 11 June 2021
- Administrative Justice in Street-Level Decision-Making: Equal Treatment and Responsiveness
Street-level bureaucrats’ discretionary powers play an increasingly important role in public service provision and law enforcement. In order to deal with societal challenges, legislators and policy-makers leave room for professional judgment by formulating open laws, rules, and policies. In making responsive decisions, however, that is, when treating different cases differently, street-level bureaucrats do not necessarily attach less value to treating similar cases alike. This chapter discusses how two notions of fairness—treating similar cases alike and treating dissimilar cases differently—are studied in street-level bureaucracy literature, and sheds light on the factors that influence how bureaucrats behave in this regard. Subsequently, it is explored how street-level bureaucrats could enhance equality of treatment when rules run out. The chapter concludes with an agenda for future research.