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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1982




American Bar Association




Writing for a recent symposium on empirical research in administrative law, Professor Paul Verkuil noted that such research "casts light on one of the dark corners of the law. The vast majority of administrative decisions are of the informal variety, meaning they take place outside the reach of generic administrative procedure acts and frequently outside the courts themselves."' We are only beginning to appreciate how vast is this dark corner and how varied the possible modes of illumination.

This essay casts some additional light into the corner by reporting on a study of the exercise of executive discretion by a regional office of the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) within the Department of Labor. The essay was commissioned by ETA officials in the Department's national office who wished to determine whether subordinate ETA regional offices might affect the implementation of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA)2 by exercising discretion independent of their superiors in the national office.' At least as an initial matter, and perhaps to conserve resources, the Department requested only a study of regional office decisionmaking rather than a study of the reaction of state and local government recipients of CETA funds to this decisionmaking. 4 The national officers thought that understanding better the extent to which and the manner by which regional officers might potentially influence CETA programs would enable the Department to achieve more efficiently the employment training goals of CETA.

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