This book addresses a seemingly simple question: Just how many
people really work for the federal government? Official counts show
a relatively small total of 1.9 million full-time civil servants,
as of 1996. But, according to Paul Light, the true head count is
nearly nine times higher than the official numbers, with about 17
million people actually providing the government with goods and
services. Most are part of what Light calls the "shadow of
government" --nonfederal employees working under federal contracts,
grants, and mandates to state and local governments. In this
book--the first that attempts to establish firm estimates of the
shadow work force-- he explores the reasons why the official size
of the federal government has remained so small while the shadow of
government has grown so large. Light examines the political
incentives that make the illusion of a small government so
attractive, analyzes the tools used by officials to keep the
official headcount small, and reveals how the appearance of
smallness affects the management of government and the future of
the public service. Finally, he points out ways the federal
government can better manage the shadow work force it has built
over the past half-century.
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