Administrative Burden

Administrative Burden

Policymaking by Other Means

Pamela Herd, Donald P. Moynihan

First, citizens are better off when public programs are designed to be simple, accessible, and respectful of the citizens they encounter. Most people would agree that if the public sector provides a service, it should be one that is visible enough to be seen, simple enough to comply with, and not psychologically taxing. Second, burdens should be minimized to the greatest extent consistent with protecting important public values, such as cost and program integrity. Third, considerations of burden should be evidence based, identifying the multiple values involved and the likely effects of burdens on those values, and informed by logic and empirical evidence rather than by political rhetoric. Fourth, because burdens can affect some groups more than others, we should be especially attentive to costs on those with limited resources or in programs that are specifically to help those with limited means.

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