During this fiscal year, the official research performance like peer-reviewed journal articles or presentations in academic conference has not been provided yet by this project. Regarding research schedule in the submitted plan, however, we finished model specification and statistical tests of policy program goal ambiguity hypotheses about Japanese politics-bureaucracy relations by multilevel regression model and a very large number of samples, using longitudinal dataset composed of a variety of archival measures.
Based on theoretical literature and empirical studies of political science, public administration, public policy, and organization theory, first, we elaborated the conceptual framework of policy program goal ambiguity a little more than previous researches. One of main hypotheses was that bureaucratic discretion and expertise could moderate the relationship between political influence and goal ambiguity in policy program. That is, manifestation of bureaucratic power (for example, rulemaking, budgetary discretion, middle-manager’s flexibility, professional knowledge, and planning capacity) was expected to influence the direction and strength of the relation. Second, investigating hard data from diverse archival sources of Japanese government, we newly developed coding scheme to measure the extent of main variables and structured longitudinal dataset of a very large number of samples, by two-level (organization and program), to mitigate methodological limitations of previous studies. With multilevel modeling technique, finally, we tested a set of research hypotheses. Our findings showed statistically significant relations among political influence, policy program goal ambiguity, and bureaucratic power.
Although the results were in general consistent with theoretical expectations, findings showed somewhat unique patterns like a few unexpected directions of moderating effect. Our next purpose is to provide the final results with meticulous explanation and meaningful implication. To achieve this, above all, we will investigate additional cues and evidences by qualitative research method and further literature review about similar social phenomena. More specifically, structured or semi-structured interview survey for Japanese bureaucrats associated with policy evaluation is going to be conducted several times. Lastly, considering possibility of presentation through various academic conferences, we will prepare to publish more improved results in peer-reviewed journals covering public administration theory or public policy studies.