The Relationship between the New European Governance Emerging from the Fiscal Crisis and Administrative Reforms: Qualitatively Different, Quantitatively Different, or nothing New? A Plea for a Research Agenda

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Edoardo Ongaro


This article questions the extent to which extant theoretical frames are apt for the task of interpreting the dynamics of administrative reforms under the conditionsof fiscal crisis that occurred in a number of euro-zone countries. The question addressed is: how can we interpret what happened in the field of administrative reforms in such countries as Greece, Ireland or Portugal, as well as in countries like Italy or Spain after the burst of the fiscal crisis in euro-zone countries? We discuss different theoretical perspectives and conclude by advocating a research agenda probing the influence that the changing relationships between the EU and the national levels of governance have on the administrative reform policy cycle. Such research work may lead to findings of interest both for the field of EU studies (questioning the extent to which the “new” European governance represents another embodiment of “integration by stealth” - a finding that would be problematic from a democratic normative theory perspective) and for the field of public administration and management (shedding light on the extent to which the dynamics of public-management reform unfold at the interface between the national and the supranational, rather than just within the boundaries of a country’s national borders).

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