|Question||There are different theories in political science to explain the behavior of people who work in government agencies. Some argue that agencies are inherently conservative: That is, they continue to make decisions as they have in the past. Others argue that agencies want to maximize their budgets: That is, they operate in ways that bring more money to the agency, because more money to spend gives them greater power. A third theory says that agencies get “captured” by the industries they regulate: Because they work so closely with these industries, they become supportive of them. Yet a fourth theory suggests that agencies act in the public interest.
Consider the case of below-cost sales of wood from Forest Service lands described in this chapter. Which, if any, of the theories cited here might support the Forest Service allowing these sales? Does this practice contradict any of these theories? What kind of additional evidence might you want in order to understand whether the behavior of the Forest Service fits any of these models?