IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Why Is It So Difficult To Reform Some Asian Bureaucracies? Building Theory From Cambodian Evidence


  • M. Shamsul Haque
  • Mark Turner
  • Mark Turner


SUMMARY This article demonstrates how theory can be built to explain cases of public administration reform failure in Asia. Drawing on the methodologies of middle range theory and grounded theory, qualitative data are gathered from the case of Cambodia and then analyzed. The result is the proposition that a specific constellation of reform‐inhibiting factors explains the slow progress of public administration reform in Cambodia. At the center of the constellation is patronage. The cluster of surrounding and interrelated factors includes weak accountability, hegemonic political regime, high and legitimate power distance, low wages, and bureaucratic dysfunction. The chances of reform success increase with the removal or absence of these inhibiting factors. The analysis emphasizes the importance of political economy factors in determining the success or failure of public administration reform. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • M. Shamsul Haque & Mark Turner & Mark Turner, 2013. "Why Is It So Difficult To Reform Some Asian Bureaucracies? Building Theory From Cambodian Evidence," Public Administration & Development, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 33(4), pages 275-285, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:padxxx:v:33:y:2013:i:4:p:275-285

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hallegatte, Stephane & Heal, Geoffrey & Fay, Marianne & Treguer, David, 2011. "From growth to green growth -- a framework," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5872, The World Bank.
    2. Hiscox, Michael J., 2001. "Class Versus Industry Cleavages: Inter-Industry Factor Mobility and the Politics of Trade," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(01), pages 1-46, December.
    3. Pedro Sanchez & Glenn Denning & Generose Nziguheba, 2009. "The African Green Revolution moves forward," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 1(1), pages 37-44, February.
    4. Arndt, Channing & Benfica, Rui & Tarp, Finn & Thurlow, James & Uaiene, Rafael, 2010. "Biofuels, poverty, and growth: a computable general equilibrium analysis of Mozambique," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(01), pages 81-105, February.
    5. Channing Arndt & Kenneth R. Simler, 2007. "Consistent poverty comparisons and inference," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 37(2-3), pages 133-139, September.
    6. Schut, Marc & Slingerland, Maja & Locke, Anna, 2010. "Biofuel developments in Mozambique. Update and analysis of policy, potential and reality," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 5151-5165, September.
    7. Dani Rodrik, 1996. "Understanding Economic Policy Reform," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 9-41, March.
    8. Minot, Nicholas & Benson, Todd, 2009. "Fertilizer subsidies in Africa: Are vouchers the answer?," Issue briefs 60, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    9. Winkler, Harald, 2005. "Renewable energy policy in South Africa: policy options for renewable electricity," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 27-38, January.
    10. Davis, Mark, 1998. "Rural household energy consumption : The effects of access to electricity--evidence from South Africa," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 207-217, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Hui Li & Ting Gong & Hanyu Xiao, 2016. "The Perception of Anti-corruption Efficacy in China: An Empirical Analysis," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 125(3), pages 885-903, February.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wly:padxxx:v:33:y:2013:i:4:p:275-285. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.