- March 2019
- Link to FF37-2019 (PDF)
This brief examines research on the rules governing delivery of public services, the effects of barriers to public service receipt, and ways to reduce barriers across poverty-related policy areas. The rules public agency caseworkers have to enforce that do not serve any useful purpose and seem to work against the clients they serve are often considered “red tape.” The time it takes to prepare income taxes, which accounts for three-fourths of the time citizens spend on federal paperwork, is an example of “administrative burden.” Another example comprises both: frequent in-person renewals for food assistance benefits function as red tape (for caseworkers) and administrative burdens (for clients). To reduce unnecessary burdens on staff and citizens alike, a line of social science research explored in this brief looks at red tape and administrative burdens, how they relate to politics, and how to reduce them.