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The bureaucracy of murder: empirical evidence

Franklin G. Mixon Jr (Department of Economics and International Business, The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA)
W. Charles Sawyer (Department of Economics and International Business, The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA)
Len J. Treviño (Department of Economics and International Business, The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 1 September 2004

Abstract

In detailing the crimes against humanity committed by the Nazi regime before and during the Second World War, Breton and Wintrobe (1986) Breton and Wintrobe describe the Nazi bureaucracy as a flexible microstructure that zealously carried out the “Final Solution” to the “Jewish question”. In this model of bureaucracy, superiors accomplish their aims not by dictating rigid top‐down orders to passive subordinates, but by allowing competition among parts of the bureaucracy and trading “informal services” for “informal payments” over time. The present research adds to the Breton‐Wintrobe argument by presenting anecdotal/empirical evidence showing how the murder of 6 million Jews was carried out in a flexible organization, wherein subordinates devised creative solutions to the “Jewish question”. Also provides evidence detailing how the quid pro quo operation resulted in dramatic payoffs for those subordinates proffering the most creative and/or efficient solutions.

Keywords

Citation

Mixon, F.G., Sawyer, W.C. and Treviño, L.J. (2004), "The bureaucracy of murder: empirical evidence", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 31 No. 9, pp. 855-867. https://doi.org/10.1108/03068290410550647

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited