This study aims to empirically test a widespread assumption that fiscal crises instigate administrative reforms. The empirical analysis relies upon an international comparative study of the responses of 14 European governments to the fiscal crisis of 2008–2013. It is found that fiscal crisis and public administration reforms are not necessarily closely connected. In the majority of cases, the fiscal crisis did not have an instant effect of triggering structural public administration reforms or substantial shifts in existing reform trajectories. The crisis intensified the pressure to reform public administration to some extent, but the European governments’ responses predominantly followed a combination of straightforward cutbacks and incremental change. More substantial reforms were carried out in countries most severely hit by the crisis and/or where administrative reforms were conditioned by international financial assistance.

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Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice
Department of Public Administration

Randma-Liiv, T., & Kickert, W. (2017). The Impact of the Fiscal Crisis on Public Administration Reforms: Comparison of 14 European Countries. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice, 19(2), 155–172. doi:10.1080/13876988.2015.1129737