Comparative Public Administration: A Review of the Literature and an Agenda for Future Research

25 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 13 Aug 2010

See all articles by Malcolm L. Goggin

Malcolm L. Goggin

University of Colorado at Denver - School of Public Affairs

Jody Fitzpatrick

University of Colorado at Denver - School of Public Affairs

Donald E. Klingner

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

Intensified globalization and the demands on government that are created by it make studying public administration comparatively – how the field is defined, how comparative issues are framed, what subjects are addressed, and what research designs and methods of data collection and analysis are employed – a timely and worthwhile endeavor. To assess the nature and scope of the field of Comparative Public Administration (CPA), this paper identifies and codes for content 69 articles published in refereed journals between 2005 and 2009 that are comparative in nature, that is, the article must concern two or more geographical regions. This could be across nations (at national or subnational level), groups of nations (OECD, G8) or across continents. To be included among the 69, the article must also be relevant for public administration. Four significant attributes of the articles that were coded are highlighted here. First, a majority of the articles referenced the context of institutions or administrative processes, and the major subjects that frequently organized an article were reform, including New Public Management, and budgeting and finance. Second, these comparative public administration articles were dominated by studies of the United States and Europe. Third, three of our every four articles in our sample either attempted to establish linkages between independent and dependent variables or described those variables. In slightly more than one of every four articles that we examined authors tested causal relationships among variables. Fourth, the vast majority of articles that we coded for content made use of existing or secondary data; interview and survey data were rarely used. Furthermore, we found that 15 percent of the authors in our sample used sophisticated statistical methods. In slightly more than half of the articles qualitative methods were used. Among other things, the uses of theory, method, and data in the 69 CPA articles published between 2005 and 2009 differ markedly from how they were used in the published journal articles that Van Wart and Cayer (1990) coded for content twenty years ago. The paper concludes with a set of seven recommendations for future comparative public administration research.

Keywords: Comparative Public Administration

Suggested Citation

Goggin, Malcolm L. and Fitzpatrick, Jody and Klingner, Donald E., Comparative Public Administration: A Review of the Literature and an Agenda for Future Research (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1644446

Malcolm L. Goggin (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Denver - School of Public Affairs ( email )

Box 173364
1250 14th Street
Denver, CO 80217
United States

Jody Fitzpatrick

University of Colorado at Denver - School of Public Affairs ( email )

1380 Lawrence Street
Suite 500
Denver, CO 80204
United States

Donald E. Klingner

University of Colorado, Colorado Springs ( email )

1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918-7150
United States

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