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Luís Mota, Maria Engrácia Cardim and Luísa Pereira

This chapter analyses the main trends and impacts of reform from the Portuguese public sector over the past three decades. It is based on a systematized and updated examination of previous studies and on results from a survey launched on Central Public Administration executives. The analysis indicates the reform process was particularly intense on issues related with bureaucracy reduction and, more recently, on management practices oriented to efficiency and results. Survey results indicate nevertheless the reform process was too top-down and cost-cutting oriented and rather unsuccessful and uncoordinated. Major recent problems are a deterioration of public sector performance, as well as decreasing levels of citizen trust in government, social cohesion and staff motivation.