Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the Future

NPM and the Size of Government Data

The changing role of government-the effect of NPM on government outlays

Savings and downsizing the public sector were a major justification when the international movement of public sector reforms began in the 1980s. Since then, New Public Management (NPM) has been the subject of extensive academic debate as to its successes and failures. However, empirical assessments of whether NPM reached its stated objectives are relatively scarce, mainly due to the difficulty of quantifying the impact of such reforms.

Several analyses of changes in government outlays and public employment have been performed in recent years, but these have generally been limited to a subset of European countries, or have covered only a limited time frame. In addition, some of the analyses have necessarily relied on unreliable data. Especially for Central and Eastern European countries, such analyses are absent, incomplete, or unreliable.

COCOPS Working Package 2 on govt outlays presents a cross-sectional (18 EU countries) and longitudinal analysis of data on government outlays, public accounts, and personnel statistics to describe and visualise trends in government outlays. To evaluate the effect of NPM on public sector size, we selected two major policies associated with NPM for study, outsourcing and decentralization.

We present the main findings of our research, including some downloadable figures:

Government outlays and administrative public employment

Outsourcing and decentralization trends

Outsourcing and decentralization effects on public sector size

Access here COCOPS working paper ‘Did new public management matter? An empirical analysis of the outsourcing and decentralization effects on public sector size


This page has been modified on 17 January 2012