Comparing Agencification in Continental Countries

  • Tobias Bach
  • Etienne Huber
Part of the Public Sector Organizations book series (PSO)


The aim of this chapter is to discuss and explain similarities and differences of agency populations, agency autonomy and control, as well as recent debates and reforms between Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. First, we provide an overview of major similarities and differences between the countries’ politico-administrative systems and the rationale for clustering these four countries. Next, we look at different agency types in the four countries which display many similarities but also fundamental differences. Then, we compare the history and drivers of agencification and flesh out distinct patterns of what is known as an ideal type of modern agency (Pollitt et al. 2004). After that we compare agency autonomy and control and assess whether being a legal type makes a difference (as would be expected against the background of the continental countries’ legalistic administrative tradition). Finally, we summarize the effects of agencification and current debates and draw some general policy lessons.


Agency Autonomy Agency Type Legal Form Management Autonomy Independent Organization 
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Copyright information

© Tobias Bach and Etienne Huber 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tobias Bach
  • Etienne Huber

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