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Agencification in Greece: a parallel public sector?

Manto Lampropoulou (Department of Political Science and Public Administration, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Article publication date: 8 January 2021

Issue publication date: 15 February 2021




The purpose of this paper is to provide insights into the impact of agencification on the process of administrative reorganization in Greece. It is suggested that agencies tend to create a parallel administrative space that operates disjointly or even detached from the central bureaucracy. This hypothesis is tested and elaborated in relation to Greece's centralist administrative tradition.


The analysis identifies the critical junctures of the domestic agencification pattern and seeks to explain its evolution on the basis of historical-cultural factors, rational choice explanations and country-specific variables. The methodology combines quantitative and qualitative research. Along with a review of existing literature, data were collected through semi-structured interviews and the Registry of Entities and Agencies.


The findings show that agencification never became a coherent policy reform tool, while its outcomes were filtered by the centralist and politicized tradition of the Greek state. The effect of agencification was proved to be highly path-dependent and contingent upon the broader administrative tradition. The agencification policy does not follow a clear direction and has been shaped as a random combination of ad hoc decisions, external pressures and domestic politics.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides some generalizations of the agencification experience. However, they do not cover all specificities and particularities of agencies and their applicability varies. Further research could consider these variations.


A novelty of this study is that it links the agencification effect with three key aspects of the administrative reform process, namely, decentralization, debureaucratization and depoliticization. In addition, no single study exists regarding agencification in Greece; thus, the paper is the first to provide an overall view of the Greek arm's length bodies.



Lampropoulou, M. (2021), "Agencification in Greece: a parallel public sector?", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 34 No. 2, pp. 189-204.



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