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Explaining Cross-National Variance in Administrative Reform: Autonomous versus Instrumental Bureaucracies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 May 1999

Christoph Knill
Max-Planck Project Group for the Study of Common Goods, Bonn


Notwithstanding an ever-growing body of literature on administrative reforms, the studies either focus on single countries or emphasize common tendencies in all countries; hence providing little systematic insight for the evaluation and explanation of administrative change from a comparative perspective. In the light of this deficit, it is the aim of this article to develop an analytical concept for explaining cross-national variances in patterns of administrative development. For this purpose, the concept of national administrative reform capacity is developed, arguing that the potential for reforming different administrative systems is basically dependent on the general institutional context in which these systems are embedded. On this basis, two ideal type constellations of administrative reform capacity and corresponding patterns of administrative development are identified and illustrated by a systematic comparison of administrative reform capacities and administrative changes in Germany and Britain.

Research Article
© Copyright 1999 Cambridge University Press

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