The International Handbook of Public Administration and Governance
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The International Handbook of Public Administration and Governance

Edited by Andrew Massey and Karen Johnston

The International Handbook of Public Administration and Governance is a ground-breaking volume with eminent scholars addressing the key questions in relation to how international governments can solve public administration and governance challenges in an increasingly globalized world. With international coverage across Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, North and South America, the authors adopt contemporary perspectives of governance, including public policy capacity, wicked policy problems, public sector reforms, the challenges of globalisation and managing complexity. Practitioners and scholars of public administration, public policy and public sector management will be better informed with regard to the issues and structures of government and governance in an increasingly complex world.
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Chapter 16: The state and perceptions of public sector reform in Europe

Dion Curry, Gerhard Hammerschmid, Sebastian Jilke and Steven Van de Walle


As in most other areas of the world, the public sector in Europe has undergone significant reform in the past two decades, shaped in part by a broader new public management (NPM) paradigm, but one that also introduces a unique European flavour. Whilst NPM and public administration in Europe share similarities with other cases, differing starting points and the EU layer provide interesting insights into the nature of public sector reforms from a broader comparative perspective. This chapter will draw on a large-scale survey of top European executives in central government in order to develop a more comprehensive and comparative picture of NPM reforms and their effects over the last five years. Focusing on a cross-section of nine EU countries plus Norway, the chapter will present findings on reform initiatives, relevance of different reform trends and their general success and impact within the case countries. The chapter will first provide a general overview of the state of public administration and the public sector in the European countries under study before turning to how the public sector and its reform are perceived by top executives. This latter investigation will focus on key trends in public sector reform in terms of both NPM and post-NPM reforms such as outcome/result orientation, downsizing, contracting out, cutting red tape, transparency and openness, cooperation, digital/e-government, citizen participation and others. The chapter will look at the importance of these trends in the selected countries before examining the nature of these reforms.

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