A Cross‐National Evaluation of Representative Bureaucracies: Implementation, Challenges, and Outcomes

Published date01 March 2015
Date01 March 2015
Book Reviews
Jyldyz Kasymova is assistant professor
in the Public Administration Division,
Political Science Department, SUNY
Buffalo State. Her research interests
include citizen participation, government
transparency, representative bureaucracy,
and international public administration.
She has published in Administration &
Society, Public Administration Review,
State and Local Government Review,
Public Performance and Management
Review, and International Journal of
Central Asian Studies.
E-mail: jkasymova@gmail.com
Book Reviews 327
Public Administration Review,
Vol. 75, Iss. 2, pp. 327–328. © 2015 by
The American Society for Public Administration.
DOI: 10.1111/puar.12342.
Among the three polities, the case of India appears to
be the most complex, a point epitomized by the exist-
ence of a diverse number of categories of the popula-
tion falling under the def‌i nition of “minority.”  e
focus of representation policy in India is on reserving
openings in the public sector for minority groups
such as Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other
so-called Backward Classes (27). As a federal system,
India provides a considerable degree of f‌l exibility to
local jurisdictions in designing and implementing
locally specif‌i c policies toward the representation of
minorities. Although several ef‌f orts were made at the
national level to improve the policy of bureaucratic
representation, the author notes shortcomings of
the recent policies of preferences in India, includ-
ing the fact that af‌f‌i rmative action is not applicable
to all types of minorities. Religious minorities, for
example, are not covered under the Indian preference
policy. Furthermore, there are some discrepancies in
drawing a line between the notions of class and caste,
and loopholes for abusing the system exist—as does
politicization of the preference policy, particularly in
promoting the political interests of certain elected
of‌f‌i cials.
e chapter on U.S. representation policy begins
with a discussion of American immigration history
and how the state af‌f ected the rights and represen-
tation of dif‌f erent ethnic groups. Historically, the
policy of preference in the United States progressed
from exclusion, segregation, and other forms of
discrimination to nondiscrimination and af‌f‌i rmative
action.  e beginning of af‌f‌i rmative action practice
at the executive level of‌f‌i cially started in 1961, when
President John F. Kennedy created the Committee
on Equal Employment Opportunity. Ever since,
diversifying the civil service system has been a
political priority (if handled in very dif‌f erent ways)
for each incoming U.S. president. Tummala’s book
also notes the leading role of the executive branch
in promoting af‌f‌i rmative action policies in the
United States, followed by the judicial and legislative
Krishna K. Tummala, Politics of Preference: India,
United States, and South Africa (Boca Raton,
FL: CRC Press, 2014). 225 pp. $69.95 (cloth),
ISBN: 9781466503892; $69.95 (eBook),
ISBN: 9781466503908.
In 2014, the New York Times published an article
about a new index that measures colleges’ com-
mitment to socioeconomic diversity in ways such
as encouraging and accepting student applications
from low-income families (Dreier and Kahlenberg
2014). Socioeconomic diversity is used in many
societies to advance representative institutions. But
the ways in which polities handle this vital matter
are dif‌f erent. Krishna K. Tummala’s book Politics
of Preference: India, United States, and South Africa
presents a highly anticipated comparative study
of three countries and their ef‌f orts to promote the
representation of minorities in government bureaucra-
cies.  e book focuses on three of the largest federal
democracies, all with dif‌f erent histories of political
commitment to af‌f‌i rmative action, which makes this
piece particularly appealing for experts and scholars
engaged in the subject as well as for policy makers in
newly emerging democracies.
In 1947, Dahl was one of the f‌i rst to note that democ-
racies are not all the same: although they share some
key attributes, each democracy has its own distinctive
characteristics based on historical, social, and cultural
developments. Tummala, to a certain extent, echoes
Dahl’s argument by thoroughly evaluating the policies
used to promote representative bureaucracies and by
demonstrating the dif‌f erences in policy implementa-
tion in each country.
e book consists of six chapters.  e introductory
chapter elaborates the purpose of the manuscript and
justif‌i es the selection of the countries examined. Chapter
2 presents both theoretical and philosophical arguments
for advancing af‌f‌i rmative action.  e next three chapters
are devoted to each individual country case, followed
with a conclusion presented in the f‌i nal chapter.
A Cross-National Evaluation of Representative Bureaucracies:
Implementation, Challenges, and Outcomes
Sonia M. Ospina and Rogan Kersh, Editors
Jyldyz Kasymova
SUNY Buffalo State

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