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A Transatlantic History of Public Administration

Analyzing the USA, Germany and France

Fritz Sager, Christian Rosser, Céline Mavrot and Pascal Y. Hurni

Intellectual traditions are commonly regarded as cultural variations, historical legacies, or path dependencies. By analysing road junctions between different traditions of Public Administration this book contests the dominant perspective of path-dependent national silos, and highlights the ways in which they are hybrid and open to exogenous ideas.
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Chapter 5: The import of US ideas by German Public Administration

Fritz Sager, Christian Rosser, Céline Mavrot and Pascal Y. Hurni


In Germany, public administration preceded Public Administration. Whereas the public administration was strongly influenced by the contemporary political order, Public Administration had a normative and empirical goal. As administrative law was rather focused on legalistic prescription, a social science approach was demanded to model public administration to contemporary needs. The USA and US administrative science were hardly noted at the end of the nineteenth century. In the course of the twentieth century, the receptiveness for the USA increased considerably, until referencing US administrative science became a standard case. The transfer of ideas took effect in three ways: first, US Public Administration served as a symbolic point of reference to promote an administrative science. Second, US administrative science was referenced as state of the art concerning theoretical concepts, research methods or research questions. Third, the USA was a role model of democracy which was considered a beacon or a cautionary tale depending on the scholars’ political beliefs.

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