Comparative Analysis of State Administrations: The Size of State as an Independent

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Klli Sarapuu


The focus of this paper is on the institutional structure of public administration. A comparative analysis of administrative structures and their functioning helps to explain the processes of public policy-making and implementation both on the national and international levels. Although the number of cross-national studies is growing, there is little research adopting the size of a state as a possible variable. To fill in this gap, the paper aims to explore how the size of a state can influence its institutional structure and politico-administrative behavior by looking into the literature that can be assembled under the label of "small state studies". It is concluded that there seems to be support for the idea of "the continuum of size", and five traits of smaller state administrations can be brought out. These are limited scope of activity, multi-functionalism, reliance on informal structures, constraints on steering and control, and high personalism. Implications of the findings are discussed.

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Author Biography

Klli Sarapuu, Department of Public Administration Tallinn University of Technology

Külli Sarapuu is a research fellow at Tallinn University of Technology, Department of Public Administration. Her research interests include public service systems, administrative reform and public administration in small states.
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