Since the 1980s the number of quasi-autonomous non-governmental organizations has increased in most western countries. This article offers a theoretical explanation for politicians’ apparent preference for quangos. The model is based on rational choice sociology, neo-institutional economics and public choice. Hypotheses are formulated on the conditions that are expected to influence politicians’ choice. The statistical analysis, using a database of 124 decisions to establish 392 quangos in The Netherlands between 1950 and 1993, shows that quango proliferation is more a trend than a well-informed choice. This raises new questions for research.

1980-2000, Netherlands, administrative reform, nongovernmental organizations, public administration, quangos, rational choice theory,
Journal of Theoretical Politics
Department of Public Administration

van Thiel, S. (2005). Why politicians prefer quasi-autonomous organizations. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 16(2), 175–201. doi:10.1177/0951629804041120