Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the Future

ECPR grad conference


At the ECPR graduate conference in Bremen (4-6 July 2012) Lise H. Rykkja (UiB) and Sebastian Jilke (EUR) – in collaboration with the COCOPS junior platform -will convene a panel on  ‘Public Sector Reform: Origins, Causes, and (Un)intended Consequences“.


Panel outline

Since the 1980s, public sector reforms have frequently been initiated by reference to private sector management practices. Many of these reforms have been placed under the label ‘New Public Management’ (NPM). Characterized by market solutions, deregulation, agencification and structural devolution, these reforms have had important consequences for public administrations as well as for citizens at large.

The resulting fragmentation following NPM‐style reforms and negative effects on equity and equal access, have often been found to have an impact on the ability of the public sector to build and sustain cohesion. Citizen demands and satisfaction with public services has come to the attention of both, policy makers and academics. There has also been a development towards re‐regulation, re‐establishment of more integrated systems and joined‐up solutions, as well as a reassertion of the center and a strengthening of central state capacity. Whether these changes are the result of conscious design, reactions to specific incidents or policies, or related to more long term social and economic transformations, is debated.

Although there is abundant research covering public sector reforms, a number of major gaps in current studies have been identified. These include limited coverage of European countries and a lack of cross‐national research, a limited empirical base, and a tendency to focus on specific elements of NPM‐style reforms or specific policy sectors rather than on public sector reforms in general. There is also a lack of attention paid to new efforts aiming at coordination, cohesion and equity.

Our panel will examine origins and causes of change in central government and policies, and discuss (un)intended consequences of major public sector reforms. We particularly welcome papers that describe and assess the impact of such recent public sector reforms. Papers should be empirically oriented and based on comparative or single country studies.


This page has been modified on 24 April 2012