Many government agencies formally define their missions in terms of serving the public wellbeing or a specific set of policy objectives such as reducing the incidence of hunger or sustaining a nation’s defense capabilities. However, frequently those agencies conduct their operations in contexts that caveat and constrain the extent to which they are able to meet their overt goals. In some cases, the restrictions derive from legislative mandates designed to benefit special interest groups that provide services more or less related to the agency’s primary mission. In others, the agency response is a consequence of explicit regulatory capture or implicit pressures by special interest groups on influential policy makers
with respect to agency budgets or other areas of their operations.

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