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Comparison in the Study of Public Administration

Comparative Public Administration

ISBN: 978-0-76231-359-4, eISBN: 978-1-84950-453-9

ISSN: 0732-1317

Publication date: 22 December 2006


Public administration as an aspect of governmental activity has existed as long as political systems have been functioning and trying to achieve program objectives set by the political decision-makers. Public administration as a field of systematic study is much more recent. Advisers to rulers and commentators on the workings of government have recorded their observations from time to time in sources as varied as Kautilya's Arthasastra in ancient India, the Bible, Aristotle's Politics, and Machiavelli's The Prince, but it was not until the eighteenth century that cameralism, concerned with the systematic management of governmental affairs, became a specialty of German scholars in Western Europe. In the United States, such a development did not take place until the latter part of the nineteenth century, with the publication in 1887 of Woodrow Wilson's famous essay, “The Study of Administration,” generally considered the starting point. Since that time, public administration has become a well-recognized area of specialized interest, either as a subfield of political science or as an academic discipline in its own right.


Heady, F. (2006), "Comparison in the Study of Public Administration", Otenyo, E.E. and Lind, N.S. (Ed.) Comparative Public Administration (Research in Public Policy Analysis and Management, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 61-127.



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