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Does agency age matter in administrative reform?: Policy autonomy and public management in Swedish agencies

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Birgitta Niklasson
Jon Pierre
Publicerad i Policy and Society
Volym 31
Nummer/häfte 3
Sidor 195-210
ISSN 1449-4035
Publiceringsår 2012
Publicerad vid Statsvetenskapliga institutionen
Sidor 195-210
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.polsoc.2012.07...
Ämnesord Myndigheter, autonomi, policy, NPM
Ämneskategorier Statsvetenskap (exklusive studier av offentlig förvaltning och globaliseringsstudier), Studier av offentlig förvaltning

Sammanfattning

Abstract This paper looks at the policy autonomy of different ‘‘generations’’ of agencies in Sweden. Taking a historical institutional perspective, we argue that the policy autonomy of public agencies is related to the dominant political and administrative trends at the time when the agency was first created, i.e. that institutional relations created at that formative moment tend to persist. In the Swedish context, one such trend is of particular importance; the managerial trend that started in 1963 with the Program Budgeting (PB) reform. This was an institutional reform that presented a paradigm shift in Swedish public administration. This reform was reinforced in the 1990s by the New Public Management (NPM) reform, which introduced new instruments and measures consistent with the managerial paradigm previously introduced by the PB reform. This managerial trend aimed at limiting agencies’ policy autonomy. Thus, we hypothesise that (1) agencies founded before the PB reform will enjoy more extensive policy autonomy than agencies founded during or after this reform and (2) there will be no such difference between agencies founded before and after the NPM reform. These hypotheses are tested on empirical data consisting of a web survey in which 157 Swedish agencies have stated to what extent they perceive that they enjoy policy autonomy. The results confirm both our hypotheses, thus demonstrating the importance of considering the scope of institutional change when analysing and comparing the effects of administrative reforms in different countries. # 2012 Policy and Society Associates (APSS). Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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