Ministries and Agencies: Steering, Meddling, Neglect and Dependency

  • Christopher Pollitt


It is commonly held by many expert commentators that the authority of the nation state is becoming more dispersed and that its institutional structure is becoming more decentralized, fragmented and complex (OECD, 2002a; Pierre and Peters, 2000; Rhodes, 1997). In some accounts this is explicitly celebrated as a form of progress: multipurpose, rigid, centralized bureaucracies are the old model; specialized, flexible, semi-autonomous agencies are the new model (Hughes, 1998; Osborne and Gaebler, 1992). However, whether decentralization is regarded as good, bad or both, it is definitely an internationally widespread phenomenon. It is perhaps the most pervasive theme of recent state reform, both in the core new public management (NPM) countries and in consensualist/corporatist continental states that are modernizing, but in more incremental, less NPM-ish ways than in the majoritarian Anglo-American and Australasian countries (Pollitt and Bouckaert, 2000; Pollitt et al, 2001; Pollitt and Talbot, 2004).


Public Management Parent Ministry Executive Agency Canadian Food Inspection Agency Policy Capacity 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

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  • Christopher Pollitt

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