The Diffusion of Public Sector Reforms. Empirical Evidence from Switzerland on the New Public Management.
15 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2006
Date Written: January 3, 2007
During the last two decades public sector reforms - especially of the type New Public Management - have become an increasingly important policy issue. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that despite their frequent announcement, the reforms have rarely been implemented correctly. This paper argues that New Public Management reforms were frequently announced by politicians because of their positive publicity effects, while they were often implemented sketchily due to government actors' opportunistic behavior. Switzerland, with its roughly 3,000 quasiautonomous municipalities, many of whom have announced the reforms, offers a vast array of data to test these hypotheses. Multiple regression analysis reveals that the announcement of the reforms is positively correlated to their relative publicity effects in an area as well as to the extent of political pressure exerted on government. Mere announcement of the reforms, however, does not ensure effective implementation. In fact many resulting reform patterns are inadequate for enabling productivity increases. Correct implementation tends to depend on the extent of political pressure as well as on available resources.
Keywords: Public Sector Reforms, New Public Management, Government Behavior, Political Institutions, Management Fashion
JEL Classification: C25, D72, D83, H11, H83
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation