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Political-Administrative Relations: Evolving Models of Politicization

  • Luc Rouban
Chapter

Abstract

Since the late 1990s, political-administrative relations have suffered from contradictory trends in most industrialized countries. On the one hand, the New Public Management (NPM) reform wave has produced an ambiguous situation made of both politicization and managerial ‘neutralization’ of the traditional civil service. On the other hand, one may wonder whether the fiscal crisis, which hit most European countries especially on the shores of the Mediterranean after 2008, has not created a new situation where bureaucrats could regain some of their influence on the policy-making process owing to their ability to handle economic and budget questions. Two factors make the assessment of these two interrelated variables even more difficult. The first one is that the fiscal crisis is more recent than the NPM reforms, whose first effects have been observed since the mid-1990s. The second one is that the fiscal crisis is an additional problem which can either feed the NPM reform, in order to save money, or amplify role conflicts between bureaucrats and politicians in a period of scarcity and low public trust. We consider here that NPM has more to do with the political-administration relations than the fiscal crisis itself since it supports a new theory of bureaucracy which is partially at the starting point of the fiscal crisis.

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© Luc Rouban 2015

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  • Luc Rouban

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