Lecture 2 Recap: Varieties of State and Bureaucracies

This is a brief recap of the lecture on varieties of state and bureaucracies within the core course in GDP. The issues discussed were as follows:

1) Westminster model of government and difficulty with putting it in place in reality (example from Pakistan and the UK)
2) The interference of politicians in bureaucracies and the political role that these organizations play or get forced to play
3) New Public Management and advantages and disadvantages of it. Measuring the unmeasurable and creating incentives when applying indicators. Whose indicators? Who is there to monitor and make decisions? Who is the winner and loser?
4) New Public Management and Old Public Management are two (extreme) options on the spectrum. There are also intermediate solutions. Such would include such topics as mission, motivation and matching (from required reading)
5) Street Level Bureaucrats, who these are, why they discriminate and how the discriminate. What can we learn from Kahnemann and Tversy and the research programme on human decision making for public sector management.
6) The simplification and routinization as strategies of STB
7) The connection of STB to NPM through making citizenry the reference group for STB.

We discussed how bureaucracies work in various countries and discussed some types of state in Lecture 1, such as developmental and non-developmental states. It is a limitation of an introduction course that we cannot discuss the variety of states in detail. To have some idea of some of the classifications available, I have asked students to reflect on Grindle’s use of Moore’s typology of states and to reflect on their own country with regard to this classification.

Lectures 3 and 4 will deal with policy-making process, so we are moving from the hardware of government and bureaucracies to the software of what they do (and do not).


Assistant Professor at International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague, The Netherlands

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