Public Sector Reform and Perceptions of Public Servants: An International Longitudinal Review

Living reference work entry


This chapter analyzes the evolution of citizen perceptions about public servants in different regions and countries of the world. Using quantitative data obtained from the World Values Survey (WVS), this work contributes to the study of such perceptions’ trends in more detail, from an international comparative approach that allows to consider key country-level institutional factors such as the intensity and advancement of public sector reforms. The data does not suggest a global trend in perceptions about public servants, yet confidence in the public service is below a majority worldwide. Some regional patterns emerge with Latin America exhibiting the lowest levels of trust in the civil service and a detachment from perceptions on the government overall. From an analysis of the three most populated countries in the world (China, India, and the United States) and Latin America’s distinct behavior, the influence of public sector reform on citizens’ perception seems to be contingent on socioeconomic and institutional characteristics. Moreover, using a typology is proposed to consider the relationship between trajectories of reform, democracy, and citizen’s perception of civil servants.


Citizen perceptions Public sector reform Institutional context 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of GovernmentUniversidad de los AndesBogotaColombia
  2. 2.Public Administration DivisionCentro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, CIDEMexico CityMexico
  3. 3.Department of Political ScienceTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Janine O’Flynn
    • 1
    • 2
  • Avery Poole
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Melbourne School of GovernmentThe University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG)MelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG)MelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Crawford School of Public PolicyThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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