The Ground Floor of Government in Context
Edited by Peter Hupe
Chapter 16: Dealing with cross-country variation in the comparative study of public administration and street-level bureaucracy
Existing research on street-level bureaucracy has hitherto paid little attention to the impacts of different country-specific institutional contexts on actual street-level policymaking, public service delivery and task fulfilment. Comparative Public Administration, too, has not provided much evidence so far on how different public-administrative settings and cultures actually influence the activities of administrative actors and the performance of service provision. This chapter attempts to link up these two fields of analyses. The authors outline major dimensions, criteria and findings of cross-country comparative studies in public administration which promise to be a fruitful ground for advancing comparative research of street-level bureaucracy. The chapter sets out to explore how existing concepts and analytical tools of Comparative Public Administration could be used for street-level bureaucracy research by way of incorporating comparative aspects more explicitly. A brief introduction to the comparative study of public administration is provided and major typologies for cross-country analysis are presented, as well as some key empirical findings which are relevant to the study of street-level bureaucracy.
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