This chapter deals with the establishment of so-called quasi-autonomous non-governmental organizations (quangos, Barker, 1982). There is little agreement on the definition of quangos. In fact, it could be argued that there is a continuum of quasi-autonomous organizations, ranging from contract agencies (see several chapters in this volume), to public bodies, voluntary organizations and government owned enterprises (cf. Greve, Flinders & Van Thiel, 1999). The aim of this chapter is twofold. First, I will describe some characteristics of quangos in Dutch government, at national and local (i.e. municipal) level. These data show that their number has increased strongly since the 1980s. Secondly, this chapter offers a theoretical explanation for the proliferation of quangos in Dutch government. The first part of this theoretical explanation has been tested before (see Van Thiel, 2001a). Here I will summarize the main conclusions from that test and propose new theoretical predictions for further study.

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Department of Public Administration

van Thiel, S. (2005). Quangos in Dutch government. Retrieved from