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Three decades, four phases: Public administration development in Central and Eastern Europe, 1989-2017

Tiina Randma-Liiv (Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology , Tallinn, Estonia)
Wolfgang Drechsler (Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance, Tallinn University of Technology , Tallinn, Estonia) (Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore , Singapore)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 14 August 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive overview of the public administration (PA) development in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) from an ex post perspective covering the past three decades.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews prior literature on CEE and PA paradigms. The authors propose to distinguish between four main phases of public sector development in new democracies: post-communist transition, EU accession, post-accession fine-tuning, and e-governance.

Findings

There were many common features in the polities and PAs of the CEE countries at the beginning of the 1990s because of their common communist legacy, and also during the EU accession period, stemming from the “administrative capacity” requirement by the EU. However, domestic decisions of individual CEE governments following accession have moved them apart from each other. While some CEE countries face reversals of democratic public governance reforms, others are leading e-government initiatives – the current phase of public sector development.

Research limitations/implications

The choice of countries is limited to the new member states of the European Union.

Originality/value

The paper shows that it is increasingly difficult to generalize findings, let alone to offer recommendations, that apply to all CEE countries. This is likely to lead to an end of a specific CEE administrative tradition as previously conceptualized in academic literature.

Keywords

Citation

Randma-Liiv, T. and Drechsler, W. (2017), "Three decades, four phases: Public administration development in Central and Eastern Europe, 1989-2017", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 30 No. 6-7, pp. 595-605. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPSM-06-2017-0175

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited