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

25 Pages Posted: 14 Aug 2010

See all articles by Jody Fitzpatrick

Jody Fitzpatrick

University of Colorado at Denver - School of Public Affairs

Malcolm L. Goggin

University of Colorado at Denver - School of Public Affairs

Tanya Heikkila

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA)

Donald Klingner

University of Colorado at Denver - School of Public Affairs

Christine. R. Martell

University of Colorado at Denver

Jason Machado

University of Colorado at Denver - School of Public Affairs

Date Written: August 12, 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.

Suggested Citation

Fitzpatrick, Jody and Goggin, Malcolm L. and Heikkila, Tanya and Klingner, Donald and Martell, Christine and Machado, Jason, Comparative Public Administration: Review of the Literature and Agenda for Future Research (August 12, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1658184 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1658184

Jody Fitzpatrick

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

1380 Lawrence Street
Suite 500
Denver, CO 80204
United States

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

Tanya Heikkila

Columbia University - School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA) ( email )

420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Donald Klingner

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

1380 Lawrence Street
Suite 500
Denver, CO 80204
United States

Christine Martell

University of Colorado at Denver ( email )

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

Jason Machado

University of Colorado at Denver - School of Public Affairs

Denver, CO 80217-3364
United States

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