Agencies: How Governments Do Things Through Semi-Autonomous Organizations

Agencies: How Governments Do Things Through Semi-Autonomous Organizations


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Many countries now use agencies rather than ministries to deliver central government services. There have been many claims about the benefits of organizing and delivering government in this way, but there has been little research into how they work in practice. Agencies both reviews existing theories and models of 'agentification' and adds detailed analysis of major new empirical evidence. Based partly on a major international research project and partly on a reinterpretation of the existing literature, this book gets inside the world of agencies and ministries. An in-depth analysis of agencies in four EU countries serves as a basis for testing alternative theoretical models and developing a new approach to the complexities of contemporary government.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781403933225
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan UK
Publication date: 10/15/2004
Edition description: 2004
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.03(d)

About the Author

CHRISTOPHER POLLITT is Professor of Public Management at Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Scientific Director at the Netherlands Institute of Government. Author of many books and articles on public management issues, he is also the former editor of Public Administration and former President of the European Evaluation Society. He has worked as consultant and adviser for the European Commission, the OECD, the World Bank, the Finnish Ministry of Finance, the Danish Top Executives Forum and the UK National Audit Office.

JANICE CAULFIELD is Research Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong. Previously Senior Research Fellow at the University of Glamorgan, her current research interests include performance and accountability in both developing and developed countries. She is Co-editor with Helge O. Larsen of Local Government at the Crossroads (2002).

AMANDA SMULLEN is a Researcher at the Centre for Public Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. She is currently completing her doctoral thesis on the rhetoric of agency reform, a comparative analysis of Australia, the Netherlands and Sweden. Her research interests include public management, discourse analysis and the new institutionalism.

COLIN TALBOT is Professor of Public Policy at the University of Nottingham and Director of the Nottingham Policy Centre. He has written widely on public management reform policies and has acted in advisory roles to UK government departments, the National Audit Office and the World Bank. He is also an Adviser to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Public Administration and a member of the Editorial Boards of Public Administration Review, Public Money and Management and the International Journal of Public Management.

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures Acknowledgements PART I: SETTING THE SCENE Agencies: The Context Modern Agencies: The Ideal Type PART II: AGENCIES IN FOUR COUNTRIES: A COMPARISON Finland The Netherlands Sweden The United Kingdom PART III: COMPARING TASKS Prisons Meteorology Forestry Social Security PART IV: CONCLUSIONS Conclusions Appendix I: The EUROPAIR Project

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