Public Administration Reforms in Europe
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Public Administration Reforms in Europe

The View from the Top

Edited by Gerhard Hammerschmid, Steven Van de Walle, Rhys Andrews and Philippe Bezes

Based on a survey of more than 6700 top civil servants in 17 European countries, this book explores the impacts of New Public Management (NPM)-style reforms in Europe from a uniquely comparative perspective. It examines and analyses empirical findings regarding the dynamics, major trends and tools of administrative reforms, with special focus on the diversity of top executives’ perceptions about the effects of those reforms.
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Chapter 21: Managing the public sector underfiscal stress

Tiina Randma-Liiv and Riin Savi


This chapter outlines the responses of European governments to the recent financial crisis with special focus on cutback strategies, consolidation measures and effects of crisis on public management patterns. Applying cutbacks during the fiscal crisis was not a one-off event, but consisted of a series of stages in the majority of European countries. Among personnel cuts, hiring freeze was the most widely applied cutback measure, followed by pay freeze, pay cuts and the reduction of staff through layoffs. All European governments demonstrated a shift towards a higher degree of centralisation in decision-making which was operationalised through the extensive increase in the power of the Ministries of Finance and of organisational budget planning units, along with the general increase in centralisation of organisational decision-making. Crisis-led pressure for public administration reform was the largest in countries that were most severely hit by the crisis and had been compelled to request foreign financial assistance.

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