Reinventing the Third World State
New Horizons in Public Policy series
Edited by Willy McCourt and Martin Minogue
Chapter 1: The internationalization of new public management
Martin Minogue INTRODUCTION The aim of this book is to examine the extent to which an extensive range of public management reforms, generically labelled ‘new public management’ (NPM), has been applied in the government systems of developing and transitional economies. We use the term ‘internationalization’ to describe this process, because NPM reforms originated in, and have been widely adopted by, the developed industrial economies, to such a degree that they seem to represent a reform model capable of transfer across national boundaries. We are concerned, therefore, to consider the modes of transfer; to explore the extent to which public management reforms are adopted wholesale, or are creatively adapted to local conditions; and to judge the effects of such transfers. These aspects are more straightforward than the more difficult task of explanation: why are such extensive attempts at policy transfer in the public management field being conducted at this juncture? A topical answer is offered by those attached to the notion of ‘globalization’, with the argument that globalizing tendencies are producing a convergence of Western and non-Western systems (or alternatively, capitalist and socialist systems) both economically and politically. This raises the prospect of one global model of governance, of which the general dissemination of NPM reforms would be a constituent element. However, this is a disputed conceptualization, and the subject of much scepticism (see Hirst and Thompson, 1996). It has been argued that such tendencies and forces are far from new, and that the label tends to obscure the essential continuity...
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