Representative Bureaucracy in Action

Representative Bureaucracy in Action

Country Profiles from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia

Edited by B. Guy Peters, Patrick von Maravić and Eckhard Schröter

Taking a comparative and analytical perspective, the authoritatively, yet accessibly written, country chapters show how salient the politics of representativeness have become in increasingly diverse societies. At the same time, they illustrate the wide variety of practice based on different political systems, administrative structures, and cultural settings.

Chapter 6: Representative bureaucracy in transitional bureaucracies: Bulgaria and Romania

Katja Michalak

Subjects: politics and public policy, international politics, public policy


While good governance and civil service system have become the buzz words in Western policy research circles and the political establishments of post-communist countries, and the concepts involved have attracted strong interest on the part of economists, public administration observers, and international organizations that provide financial support for development (Abed and Gupta, 2002), there still remains conceptual and analytical confusion about what constitutes effective governance and, more importantly, what constitutes accountability of bureaucracy and to what extent it is representative of civil society itself. The mutual relationship between the bureaucracy and the public reflects a representative bureaucracy, which the literature defines as good governance. Representative bureaucracy literature argues that “[p]ublic bureaucracies must be representative of the people they serve” (Evans, 1974, p. 628). This broad definition of the concept of representative bureaucracy can be investigated through various means. Since passive representation can be rather easily achieved in emerging democracies, whereas active representation faces the challenge of patronage and clientelistic networks that are still present in both Romania and Bulgaria, the focus here is on this important distinction.

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