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 8: Representative bureaucracy in Italy

Giliberto Capano and Nadia Carboni

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


In 1944, J. Donald Kingsley coined the term “representative bureaucracy” in a study of British civil servants (Kingsley, 1944). Observing gender and class distinctions within the British civil service, he noted that as British society became increasingly middle class, the composition of its civil service could also reflect this middle-class shift. Kingsley specifically argued that “representational participation” should lead to “functional effectiveness.” His observations encouraged the launching of a new field of inquiry – representative bureaucracy. The concept of “representative bureaucracy” as such implies a civil service in which each and every economic class, caste, region, and religion to be found in a given country is represented in exact proportion to its numbers among the population.

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