Why and When Countries Implement Local Public Administration Reforms: A Long-Term View of Reform Dynamics in Slovakia, 1990–2015

Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


Public administration reforms are among the most typical expressions of societal progress from the point of view of governments and the public sector and more often than not have impacts on the institutional frameworks of urban governance. Debates and considerations on reforms are almost permanent, but their conversion into real terms and implementation requires much stronger motives. An overview of development in Slovakia from a longer term perspective shows that local public administration reforms usually need more complex stimuli. A combination of less positive indicators of social and economic development (induced by post-Communist transformation, or economic and financial crisis), need for progress in the field of local public administration and local development (democratization, decentralization, modernization), as well as the capacities of central governments and leading political parties, plays a primary role. Reforms have a better chance if there are stable (more electoral terms in central government) and well-established political elites. On the other hand, there are also factors that were influential only in a particular period and later on their impact decreased, or their nature changed. This is, for example, the case with administrative traditions and policy legacies. The modernization argument for reform has also changed—now strongly moved in favour of its technological and managerial meaning in Slovakia. International influences lost their strength since the time of pre-accession processes, although many piecemeal policy transfers are permanent. Surprisingly less reform calls and practical recommendations have been generated from within local public administration. Its elite is less compact and cohesive in generating larger scale proposals, although they are quite efficient in protecting previous reform achievements and in minor improvements to the public administration system.


Public administration Reform Local self-government Implementation factors Urban governance Long-term view Slovakia 



The chapter was prepared with thanks to support provided by the project APVV-018-12 entitled “Human Geographical and Demographic Interactions, Nodes and Contradictions within a Time-Space Network” (50 %) and VEGA research Grant No. 1/0745/16 “Autonomy, Interdependence and Interactions of Spatial Systems” (50 %).


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Geography and DemographyComenius UniversityBratislavaSlovakia

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