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CONTENTS

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p. vii

FIGURES AND TABLES

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p. xiii

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PREFACE

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pp. ix-xii

Sometimes interesting research topics come to one’s attention in serendipitous ways. For a previous project on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Office of Government Reports (OGR), I was looking to document the earliest existence of OGR’s predecessor agency, the National Emergency Council (NEC). I knew NEC had been created by Roosevelt in 1933 but was not ...

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CHAPTER 1. Why Study the Bureau of Efficiency?

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pp. 1-23

That the federal government had for twenty years an agency called the Bureau of Efficiency would probably strike the contemporary observer as ludicrous and absurd as well as somewhat quaint and naïve. To the twenty-first-century American, a federal Bureau of Efficiency sounds more like a punch line in the monolog of a late night TV show’s host than ...

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CHAPTER 2. Origins

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pp. 24-36

Since no central staff agencies had previously existed in the federal government, how did the Bureau of Efficiency come into being?1 After all, lacking any precedent, the motivation for creating the bureau by definition could not have been to deliberately invent such a new category of federal agency. Only after having created BOE for other purposes would ...

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CHAPTER 3. Inventing a Central Staff Agency: Congress Proposes, the President Disposes

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pp. 37-49

The Bureau of Efficiency came into being due to congressional policy initiatives. Pilegge described BOE as “largely the work of Congress.”1 The pattern of governance reflected the postbellum era of Congress as the dominant branch of government, with presidents generally overshadowed by policy making on Capitol Hill. First, Congress decided that the ...

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CHAPTER 4. An Administrative Sketch of the Bureau

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pp. 50-69

During its existence from 1916 (1913, if including when it was the Division of Efficiency) to 1933, the Bureau of Efficiency was a small entity in terms of its budgets and number of personnel. Its chief, Herbert D. Brown, tried to create a culture and

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CHAPTER 5. A Staff Agency at Work

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pp. 70-90

What did the Bureau of Efficiency do all day? The next three chapters seek to give a picture of its projects and activities. While it is impossible to describe all of the initiatives, studies, and investigations it conducted, these chapters highlight some major examples that attempt to give a fair and comprehensive view of the bureau’s record. This chapter focuses ...

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CHAPTER 6. A Presidential Staff Agency

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pp. 91-113

Chapter 3 recounted how Congress, with President Taft in a passive and reactive role, initiated the creation of the Division of Efficiency and then the Bureau of Efficiency. In that respect, BOE’s establishment was typical of the era of congressional government that largely dominated the federal scene in the postbellum era of the second half of the nineteenth ...

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CHAPTER 7. A Congressional Staff Agency

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pp. 114-128

In the early twentieth century, Congress had no formal or official source for disinterested expert analysis or investigation. Just about all the information it received was self-serving, whether from agencies, special interest groups, or even the president. When it wanted neutral policy analysis or management analysis, it had nowhere to turn. The Library ...

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CHAPTER 8. Terminating the Bureau: Congress Proposes, 129 the President Disposes

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pp. 129-148

The story of the demise of the U.S. Bureau of Efficiency is largely parallel to that of its creation. The initiative to kill the bureau occurred on Capitol Hill. The role of the White House was, again, largely passive and reactive. The death of the U.S. Bureau of Efficiency was as much a story of congressional decision-making as was its birth. ...

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CHAPTER 9. Assessing the First Federal Staff Agency

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pp. 149-182

Louis Brownlow was a major figure in American public administration. He headed Pres. Franklin Roosevelt’s committee to reorganize the federal government in the late 1930s. The work of the Brownlow Committee created the Executive Office of the President, shifted the Bureau of the Budget to the president’s direct oversight, altered the focus of public ...

Notes

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pp. 183-216

Bibliography

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pp. 217-230

Index

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pp. 231-241