How-to bureaucracy: A concept of citizens’ administrative literacy

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Administrative literacy is the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic information and services from public organizations needed to make appropriate decisions. Citizens’ competencies necessary for successful interactions with public administration remain a widely neglected resource. Administrative burden resulting from citizen–state interactions may impact citizens differently depending on their available resources to cope. Research from other fields such as health literacy suggests that these concepts influence a variety of outcomes for both the individual and society. The article develops a concept of administrative literacy to provide new approaches to various fields of public administration and management research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAdministration & Society
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1155-1177
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • administrative burden
  • administrative literacy
  • citizen–state interaction
  • street-level bureaucracy


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