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Strategies for GoverningReinventing Public Administration for a Dangerous Century$
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Alasdair Roberts

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501714405

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501714405.001.0001

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Laws, Organizations, Programs, and Practices

Laws, Organizations, Programs, and Practices

(p.55) Chapter 7 Laws, Organizations, Programs, and Practices
Strategies for Governing

Alasdair Roberts

Cornell University Press

This chapter assesses state institutions. Much scholarly effort has been invested in the definition of institution; some definitions are quite abstract. There is nothing wrong with such definitions, but as one scholar has observed, they might be “a little too general to be terribly helpful.” Four particular kinds of institutions are of interest when one discusses the architecture of the state. The first are laws. These are general rules of conduct that dictate how people and organizations inside and outside of the state should behave. One variant is constitutional or basic law, which provides the framework for the operation of the state. Another variant is statute law, which typically consists of rules generated by legislative assemblies. A third variant is subordinate legislation, which usually consists of regulations or rules made by executives and bureaucrats under authority granted by statutes. Organizations make up the second form of institution that is critical to the architecture of modern states. Organizations are responsible for implementing programs, a third important type of institution in the modern era. Lastly, there are informal practices that are so firmly established that they can be counted as institutions, even though these practices may not be recognized in law and may even be inconsistent with law.

Keywords:   state institutions, laws, constitutional law, statute law, subordinate legislation, organizations, programs, practices

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