The establishment of autonomous public bodies during the past two decades has created a highly fragmented public sector. Using a dataset with more than 200 Dutch public sector organisations, this article examines three related sets of questions: to what extent a relationship exists between formal and de facto autonomy; the level of influence that interested parties exert upon those organizations; whether a relationship exists between levels of formal and de facto autonomy and the level of influence exercised by these parties. We find that formal autonomy does not reinforce de facto autonomy; organizations with less autonomy report higher levels of political influence when policy autonomy is concerned; and that organizations with more autonomy report higher societal influence on their financial autonomy.

Bureaucratic autonomy, Political control, Public sector organizations,
Public Organization Review
Department of Public Administration

Yesilkagit, K, & van Thiel, S. (2008). Political influence and bureaucratic autonomy. Public Organization Review, 8(2), 137–153. doi:10.1007/s11115-008-0054-7