The Behavior of Administrative Agencies

Richard A. Posner


Administrative agencies are an increasingly prominent feature of the legal system. This article presents a model of the behavior of such agencies that can be tested empirically and the results of some preliminary empirical tests.' The model is designed to predict how a rational utility-maximizing agency divides its attention among cases having different characteristics. Part I develops the model, discusses and tests some empirical implications, and compares the implications of the model with alternative models. Part II uses the model developed in part I as the basis for an empirical examination of a long-standing issue in administrative law-whether combining prosecution and adjudication in the same agency contaminates adjudication.