Civil Service Reforms, Public Service Bargains and Dynamics of Institutional Change

  • Philippe Bezes
  • Martin Lodge


Following three decades of managerialist change and privatization, the aftermath of the financial crisis has launched another age of civil service reform. Initial responses to the age of austerity have been pay freezes and cuts, a further push towards outsourcing of public services, as well as, in some countries, extensive redundancies. Furthermore, decades of civil service reform across OECD and non-OECD countries have not led to a sense of stability: across countries, politicians are bemoaning the lack of a responsive civil service and a civil service that is ‘fit for purpose.’ Such calls for responsiveness contrast with those who argue that a ‘Weberian,’ ‘merit-based’ bureaucracy is at the heart of ‘good governance’ (see Dahlström, Lapuente and Teorell, 2012). The politics of austerity, climate change and aging populations will provide for further tension between the competing preferences for political responsiveness, on the one hand, and supposedly detached expertise, on the other (Lodge, 2013).


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© Philippe Bezes and Martin Lodge 2015

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  • Philippe Bezes
  • Martin Lodge

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