Administrative Capital and Citizens' Responses to Administrative Burden

Ayesha Masood, Muhammad Azfar Nisar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Administrative burden research has highlighted the multiple costs imposed by public policies and their impact on citizens. However, the empirical understanding of citizens' responses to such burdens remains limited. Using ethnographic data of doctors applying for maternity leave in Pakistan, this article documents strategies used by citizens to navigate the administrative burden faced by them. Our findings suggest that these strategies are based on an individual's cache of social, cultural capital, and economic capital. Based on our data, we also theorize the significance of another form of capital for navigating administrative burden. This administrative capital is defined as an individual's understanding of bureaucratic rules, processes, and behaviors. Our findings further illustrate that the different costs imposed by public policies can be interchangeable, which may be used by citizens to their advantage. Propositions for future research on the intersection of different forms capital and administrative burden are also included.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-72
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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