© 2012

Government Agencies

Practices and Lessons from 30 Countries

  • Koen Verhoest
  • Sandra Van Thiel
  • Geert Bouckaert
  • Per Lægreid

Part of the Public Sector Organizations book series (PSO)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxii
  2. Agencification As a Global Phenomenon

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Koen Verhoest, Sandra Van Thiel, Geert Bouckaert, Per Lœgreid
      Pages 3-17
    3. Sandra Van Thiel
      Pages 18-26
  3. Agencification in Different Politico-Administrative Traditions

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 27-27
    2. Agencification in Anglo-American Countries

      1. Chris Aulich, Roger Wettenhall
        Pages 29-39
      2. Muiris MacCarthaigh, Richard Boyle
        Pages 40-50
      3. Robert Gregory
        Pages 51-56
      4. Oliver James, Alice Moseley, Nicolai Petrovsky, George Boyne
        Pages 57-68
      5. B. Guy Peters
        Pages 69-76
      6. John Halligan, Oliver James
        Pages 77-82
    3. Agencification in Latin Countries

      1. Koen Verhoest, Sara Demuzere, Jan Rommel
        Pages 84-97
      2. Franҫois Lafarge
        Pages 98-109
      3. Edoardo Ongaro, Davide Galli, Dario Barbieri, Paolo Fedele
        Pages 110-121
      4. Salvador Parrado
        Pages 122-132
      5. Silvia M. Mendes, Patrícia Gomes, Joaquim Filipe Araújo
        Pages 133-144
      6. Edoardo Ongaro, Salvador Parrado, Koen Verhoest
        Pages 145-154
    4. Agencification in Continental Countries

      1. Gerhard Hammerschmid, Arndt Krischok, Karin Steigenberger
        Pages 156-165
      2. Tobias Bach
        Pages 166-178
      3. Kutsal Yesilkagit, Sandra Van Thiel
        Pages 179-190

About this book


This book describes and compares how semi-autonomous agencies are created and governed by 30 governments. It leads practitioners and researchers through the crowded world of agencies, describing their tasks, autonomy, control and history. Evidence-based lessons and recommendations are formulated to improve agencification policies in post-NPM times.


Europe Germany Government Israel

Editors and affiliations

  • Koen Verhoest
    • 1
  • Sandra Van Thiel
    • 2
  • Geert Bouckaert
    • 1
  • Per Lægreid
    • 3
  1. 1.Public Management InstituteCatholic University of LeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Public AdministrationErasmus UniversityRotterdamNetherlands
  3. 3.Department of Administration and Organization TheoryUniversity of BergenNorway

About the editors

VIBEKE NORMANN ANDERSEN Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Public Management, Syddanksk Universitet, Denmark JOAQUIM FILIPE ARAÚJO Associate Professor, School of Economics and Management Universidade do Minho, Portugal CHRIS AULICH Professor, ANZSOG Institute for Governance, University of Canberra, Australia TOBIAS BACH Research Fellow, University of Hannover, Germany DAN OCTAVIAN BALICA Research assistant, Babes-Bolyai University, Romania DARIO BARBIERI SDA Bocconi, Italy NICOLA BELLÉ Researcher, Bocconi University, Italy BIDHYA BOWORNWATHANA Associate Professor, Department of Public Administration, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand RICHARD BOYLE Head of Research, Institute of Public Administration, Ireland GEORGE BOYNE Professor, Cardiff University, UK SARA DEMUZERE Researcher, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium PAOLO FEDELE Assistant Professor, Udine University, Italy DAVIDE GALLI Assistant Professor, Bocconi University, Italy PATRÍCIA GOMES Researcher, School of Economics and Management Universidade do Minho, Portugal ROBERT GREGORY Professor of Political Science, School of Government Victoria, University of Wellington, New Zealand GYÖRGY HAJNAL Associate Professor, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary JOHN HALLIGAN Professor, University of Canberra, Australia GERHARD HAMMERSCHMID Assistant Professor, Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, Austria MORTEN BALLE HANSEN Assistant Professor, University of Southern Denmark - Syddansk Universitet, Denmark CALIN EMILIAN HINTEA Professor, Public Administration Department, Babes Bolyai University, Romania ETIENNE HUBER Research Assistant, University of Bern, Switzerland ADRIAN V. HUDREA Researcher, Public Administration Department, Babes-Bolyai University, Romania NASIRA JABEEN Professor and Director, Institute of Administrative Sciences, University of Punjab, Pakistan MUHAMMAD ZAFAR IQBAL JADOON Professor, Institute of Administrative Sciences, University of Punjab, Pakistan OLIVER JAMES Professor, University of Exeter, UK JOHANNA JOKISUU Researcher, University of Vaasa, Finland IVAN KOPRI? Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, Croatia ARNDT KRISCHOK Researcher, Hertie School of Governance, Germany FRANÇOIS LAFARGE Ecole Nationale d'Administration and University of Strasbourg, France DAVID LEVI-FAUR Professor, Department of Political Science and The Federmann School of Public Policy, The Hebrew University, Israel SHIMON LIVSHITZ Researcher, Department of Political Science, The Hebrew University, Israel MUIRIS MACCARTHAIGH Research Officer, Institute of Public Administration, Ireland ZILVINAS MARTINAITIS Lecturer, Vilnius University, Lithuania SILVIA M. MENDES Associate Professor, School of Economics and Management, Universidade do Minho, Porugal ALICE MOSELEY Research Fellow, University of Exeter, United Kingdom ANAMARIJA MUSA Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, Croatia VITALIS NAKRO IS Associate Professor, Vilnius University, Lithuania JURAJ NEMEC Professor, Matej Bel University Banska Bystrica, Slovakia BIRGITTA NIKLASSON Researcher, Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden EDOARDO ONGARO Professor, SDA Bocconi School of Management, Italy MARTIN PAINTER Professor, City University of Hong Kong, China SALVADOR PARRADO Associate Professor, UNED (Spanish Distance Learning University), Madrid, Spain B. GUY PETERS Maurice Falk Professor of American Government, University of Pittsburgh, USA NICOLAI PETROVSKY Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky, U.S.A. JON PIERRE Professor, University of Gothenburg, Sweden TIINA RANDMA Liiv Professor, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia AISHA RIZWAN Lecturer, Institute of Administrative Sciences, University of Punjab, Pakistan JAN ROMMEL PhD student, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium PAUL G. RONESS Professor, University of Bergen, Norway KRISTIN RUBECKSEN Research Fellow, University of Bergen, Norway ARI SALMINEN Professor, University of Vaasa, Finland KÜLLI SARAPUU Research Fellow, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia KARIN STEIGENBERGER Researcher, University of Vienna, Austria RETO STEINER Professor, University of Bern, Switzerland ANDREW SULLE, Dr., University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania OLLI-PEKKA VIINAMÄKI Senior Researcher, University of Vaasa, Finland ROGER WETTENHALL Emeritus Professor and Visiting Professor, ANZSOG Institute for Governance, University of Canberra, Australia KUTSAL YESILKAGIT Associate Professor, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands

Bibliographic information

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'Applying a common data and analytic template to 30 countries, the contributors examine the historical origins and legal frameworks of agencies, their capacity to carry out assigned tasks, the political and administrative implications, and more. If the purpose of agencies has been to tear down the vast, vertically-integrated government bureaucracies that dominated public administration during most of the 20th century, most have failed; if their aim has been to improve public services, many have had modest - but not universal - success. With the publication of this book, administrative reformers can innovate with eyes wide open, and with greater comprehension of the difference agencies make in managing the public services.'

- Allen Schick, Distinguished University Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, USA.

'A comparative study that sheds light on a now popular yet marginally understood form of public organisation. Sitting outside traditional ministerial departments, 'agencies', and how they work in practice are the focus of this book. For its breadth and depth of analysis, it will be of value to practitioners and students alike. The accompanying list of recommendations and lessons in organisational design is a bonus.'

- Janice Caulfield, formerly Associate Professor, University of Hong Kong