The State at Work, Volume 1

The State at Work, Volume 1

Public Sector Employment in Ten Western Countries

Edited by Hans-Ulrich Derlien and B. Guy Peters

Representing the most extensive research on public employment, this volume explores the radical changes that have taken place in the configuration of national public services due to a general expansion of public employment that was followed by stagnation and decreases. Part-time employment and the involvement of women also increased as a component of the public sector and were linked to the most important growth areas such as the educational, health care and personal social services sectors. The two volumes that make up this study shed important insight on these changes.

Chapter 12: Conclusion

Hans-Ulrich Derlien

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, politics and public policy, public policy


Hans-Ulrich Derlien A condensed summary of the ten country reports could contain the following points: From the 1950s when data became available and the time series started, until the end of the millennium, a general expansion of public employment took place with the public sector more than doubling in most countries. This trend however was not a linear one. The growth era was followed by stagnation and even slight decreases. A second trend accompanying this development was the growth in part-time employment, and this in turn was very closely related to increased female employment. Fourth, in all of the countries, part-time and female employment were linked to the most important growth areas, specifically the tremendous expansion of the educational sector, followed by health care and in many countries, personal social services. The growth of public employment in these areas was bound to affect the proportions of employment between levels of government. There is a general trend for the vertical, intergovernmental distribution of public employment to become more bulky because these services are amassed for functional reasons at the regional and local levels of government. Another aspect of the vertical distribution of employment is a trend towards agencification in particular in those countries with a British administrative culture. Privatization and agencification associated with New Public Management inspired reforms. This configuration though is much more complicated and deserves some differentiation; the in-depth analysis is reserved for Volume II. CHANGES IN PUBLIC SECTOR SIZE In broad brush...

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