Unbiased conduct is an essential part of the social contract between the state and its citizens. Yet, when tasked with settling disputes between citizens and other state officials, are public administrators truly impartial in their resolutions? Such a question is vital for street-level bureaucrats whom the public perceives as the face of governance. This study investigates the relations between the pro-citizen tendencies in street-level bureaucrats' resolutions, their internal appealability, and the discretionary space under which they are made. Using quantitative analysis of real-world lower-court rulings in Israeli tax disputes between 1980 and 2021, the research findings indicate that unregulated expansion of street-level bureaucrats' discretionary space relates to favoring the state's arguments in their resolutions and may impair procedural fairness. The findings also imply that regulation promoting citizens' right to appeal such resolutions within their agency, can increase street-level bureaucrats' pro-citizen tendencies and potentially counteract such outcomes.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Research Fund of the Open University of Israel.
© 2022 The Authors. Regulation & Governance published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.
- discretionary space
- pro-citizen tendencies
- street-level bureaucrats
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Public Administration