This article reviews the New Public Management (NPM) literature in central and eastern Europe (CEE) with the aim of assessing whether reforms have 'worked'. Increasingly, academics have tended to argue against the suitability of NPM instruments in this region. To understand the impact of this much-debated policy, we first propose a classification of the impacts of NPM geared to the realities of central and eastern European states. Then, we use this classification to carefully review empirical studies across the region over the past 10 years. Unlike much of the recent academic literature, we suggest that NPM can work. NPM policy has not always been successful to the extent expected and promoted, but there is enough evidence to show that some of the central ideas in NPM have led to improvements in public service organization or provision across different organizational settings. An adequate degree of administrative capacity, sustained reform over time and a 'fitting context' are the main factors that can tip the scale for the success of these management instruments. The article provides a fresh and transparent assessment of a major administrative development in a growing region with implications for other parts of the world that experience similar challenges and opportunities.

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Keywords central and eastern Europe, impact, New Public Management, public sector reform
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Series COCOPS - (COordinating for COhesion in the Public Sector of the Future)
Journal Public Management Review: an international journal of research and theory
Grant This work was funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme; grant id fp7/266887 - COordinating for COhesion in the Public Sector of the Future (COCOPS)
Dan, S, & Pollitt, Ch. (2014). NPM Can Work: An optimistic review of the impact of New Public Management reforms in central and eastern Europe. Public Management Review: an international journal of research and theory, 2014(Online first), 1–28. doi:10.1080/14719037.2014.908662