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Aligning Needs and Capacities to Boost Government Competitiveness

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National competitiveness indices are often theoretical underdeveloped, limiting their engagement with academic literature. Because many are based on neoliberal ideology, a new approach is needed to incorporate governance and administration theory, and to enhance relevance to developing countries. This article introduces government competitiveness, a concept that recognizes overlooked factors like the role of social organizations, the use of diverse policy inputs and policy development processes, and the imperative to address human needs at all development stages. The conceptual foundation draws from systems theory, needs theory, and intervention stages theory to inform a comprehensive framework that bridges development scholarship and practice.

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  • 17 June 2019

    The original version of this article unfortunately contained a mistake. The missing acknowledgements of the original article is provided below: <Emphasis Type="Bold">Acknowledgements</Emphasis> This work was supported by National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government (NRF-2014S1A3A2044898).


  1. 1.

    Due to the ambiguous conceptualization of competitiveness, the term is often used interchangeably with similar concepts, many from research institutes: 1) IMD and WEF focus primarily upon NC, 2) the World Bank’s WGI evaluates “government effectiveness,” and 3) Quality of Governance Indicators (QGI) focus on “quality of governance.”

  2. 2.

    As with the principles of Greco-Roman democracy, Confucian thought survives to the present in both formal practice and societal values. Differences between the two are evident in the performance gaps between Asian and Western countries on governance metrics that largely reflect Western-style democratic priorities.

  3. 3.

    Operational efficiency is robustly addressed in public management literature, but can also be a dimension of competitiveness in measuring the stewardship of public resources. Related to this point, Coggburn and Schneider (2003) provide a useful examination of the impact of government capacity on policy commitments.

  4. 4.

    See Sabatier and Weible (2014) for a useful summary of these theories.

  5. 5.

    See Matland (1995) for a useful review of the implementation literature from a top-down versus bottom-up perspective.


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Correspondence to Kris Hartley.

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Im, T., Hartley, K. Aligning Needs and Capacities to Boost Government Competitiveness. Public Organiz Rev 19, 119–137 (2019).

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  • Government competitiveness
  • Governance
  • National development