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Models of public service reform : a problem-solving approach


  • McCourt, Willy


This paper identifies six models of public service reform that have been practiced in developing countries over the past half-century. It critically reviews their implementation, discussing them as attempted solutions to problems that have arisen in the policy process in different countries. The models are: public administration; decentralization; pay and employment reform; New Public Management; integrity and corruption reforms; and"bottom-up"reforms. The paper seeks an explanation for their disappointing performance in the political economy of reform, with an emphasis on how learning from failure can be the paradoxical foundation of future success.

Suggested Citation

  • McCourt, Willy, 2013. "Models of public service reform : a problem-solving approach," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6428, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6428

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rauch, James E. & Evans, Peter B., 2000. "Bureaucratic structure and bureaucratic performance in less developed countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 49-71, January.
    2. Francis, Paul & James, Robert, 2003. "Balancing Rural Poverty Reduction and Citizen Participation: The Contradictions of Uganda's Decentralization Program," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 325-337, February.
    3. Andrews,Matt, 2013. "The Limits of Institutional Reform in Development," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107016330, May.
    4. Campos, Jose Edgardo & Esfahani, Hadi Salehi, 2000. "Credible Commitment and Success with Public Enterprise Reform," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 221-243, February.
    5. Mark Turner & Amir Imbaruddin & Wahyu Sutiyono, 2009. "Human resource management: the forgotten dimension of decentralisation in Indonesia," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(2), pages 231-249.
    6. Whitehead, Laurence, 1990. "Political explanations of macroeconomic management: A survey," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 18(8), pages 1133-1146, August.
    7. Bland, Gary, 2011. "Supporting Post-conflict Democratic Development? External Promotion of Participatory Budgeting in El Salvador," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 863-873, May.
    8. Schick, Allen, 1998. "Why Most Developing Countries Should Not Try New Zealand's Reforms," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 13(1), pages 123-131, February.
    9. World Bank, 2001. "World Development Report 2000/2001," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11856, March.
    10. Willy McCourt, 2001. "The New Public Selection? Anti-corruption, psychometric selection and the new public management in Nepal," Public Management Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(3), pages 325-343, September.
    11. Paul, Samuel, 1992. "Accountability in public services: Exit, voice and control," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(7), pages 1047-1060, July.
    12. Willy McCourt, 2007. "Impartiality through bureaucracy? A Sri Lankan approach to managing values," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(3), pages 429-442.
    13. Bale, Malcolm & Dale, Tony, 1998. "Public Sector Reform in New Zealand and Its Relevance to Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 13(1), pages 103-121, February.
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    More about this item


    National Governance; Public Sector Economics; Public Sector Management and Reform; Public Sector Corruption&Anticorruption Measures; Public Sector Expenditure Policy;

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