2016 | 2(36) | 34-53
Article title

Public administration in Europe

Title variants
Administracja publiczna w Europie
Languages of publication
Why do some public administrations perform better than others? This is an important question because the performance of public administration is an important factor of a country’s competitiveness and economic outcomes. Our outcome index for public administration captures ‘good governance’, which includes the six components of the World Bank index, representing responsiveness, effectiveness, and legitimacy of governments. Northern Europe scores especially well on good governance, followed by Oceania, Western Europe, Northern America, and Eastern Asia. Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe obtained the lowest scores in the public administration outcome index. Professionalism (as a dimension of the quality of public administration), freedom of the press, the degree of decentralization, and intensity of ICT expenditure were significantly positively correlated with good governance. Spending on tax administration, on the other hand, was significantly negatively correlated with good governance.
Dlaczego niektóre administracje działają lepiej niż inne? To ważne pytanie, bo działanie administracji publicznej jest istotnym czynnikiem konkurencyjności i wyników gospodarczych kraju. Nasz indeks wyników administracji publicznej pozwala uchwycić koncepcję good governance, na którą składa się sześć wskaźników opracowanych przez Bank Światowy, a wśród nich: reaktywność, efektywność i legitymizacja rządu. Najlepiej w zakresie good governance wypada Europa Północna, za nią plasuje się Oceania, Europa Zachodnia, Ameryka Północna i Azja Wschodnia. Europa Środkowa, Wschodnia i Południowa wypadają najgorzej w dziedzinie osiąganych przez administrację publiczną wyników, które obejmuje nasz indeks. Profesjonalizm (jeden z wymiarów jakości administracji publicznej), wolność prasy, stopień centralizacji i poziom wydatków na technologie informacyjne i komunikacyjne są istotnie pozytywnie skorelowane z good governance. Z kolei wydatki na administrację podatkową są istotnie negatywnie skorelowane z good governance.
  • The Netherlands Institute for Social Research
  • The Netherlands Institute for Social Research
  • Acemoglu, D. (2012). Success and failure of nations: Institutional bottlenecks. Presentation at MIT, May 22, 2012, Zeuthen Lectures. Retrieved 16–06-2016 from
  • Acemoglu, D., & Robinson, J. A. (2012). Why Nations Fail. London: Profile Books.
  • Albassam, B. (2013). The relationship between governance and economic growth during times of crisis. European Journal of Sustainable Development, 2 (4), 1–18.
  • Andor, L. (2014). Modernising Public Administration – Working Together to Achieve Results. Brussels: European Commission.
  • Avellaneda, S. (2006). Good governance, institutions and economic development: Beyond the conventional wisdom. Paper presented at the Forum de Recerca, Departament de Ciencies Politiques i Socials, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona.
  • Boldrin, M., Levine, D. K., & Modica, S. (2012). A review of Acemoglu and Robinson´s Why nations fail. Retrieved 16–06-2016 from
  • Chandler, J. A. (2014). Comparative Public Administration. New York: Taylor & Francis.
  • Crook, C. (2012). ‘Why nations fail’ is not quite as good as they say. Bloomberg. Retrieved 16–06-2016 from
  • Dahlström, C., Lapuente, V., & Teorell, J. (2011). Dimensions of bureaucracy II: A cross-national dataset on the structure and behaviour of public administration, QoG Working Paper Series 2011: 6, July 2011.
  • Dell’Aringa, C., Lucifora, C., & Origo, F. (2007). Public sector pay and regional competitiveness. A first look at regional public and private wage differentials in Italy. The Manchester School, 75 (4), 445–478.
  • EC (2012). European Commission. Excellence in Public Administration. Brussels: European Union.
  • EC (2014). Reindustrialising Europe: Member States’ Competitiveness Report 2014. Brussels: European Union.
  • Evans, P., & Rauch, J. E. (1999). Bureaucracy and growth: A cross-national analysis of the effects of ‘Weberian’ state structures on economic growth. American Sociological Review, 64 (5), 748–765.
  • Fukuyama, F. (2012). Acemoglu and Robinson on Why nations fail. The American Interest. Retrieved 16–06-2016 from
  • Fukuyama, F. (2014). Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalisation of Democracy. London: Profile Books.
  • Galanti, M. T. (2011). Is Italian bureaucracy exceptional? Comparing the quality of Southern European public administrations. Bulletin of Italian Politics, 3 (1), 5–33.
  • Glaeser, E. L., La Porta, R., Lopez-de-Silanes, F., & Shleifer, A. (2004). Do institutions cause growth? Journal of Economic Growth, 9 (3), 271–303.
  • Hauner, D., & Kyobe, A. (2008). Determinants of Government Efficiency. Washington: IMF working paper.
  • Jonker, J., & Boelhouwer, J. (2012). Countries Compared on Public Performance: A Study of Public Sector Performance in 28 Countries. The Hague: Netherlands Institute of Social and Cultural Research (SCPpublication).
  • Kaufmann, D., Kraay, A., & Mastruzzi, M. (2008). Governance matters VII: Aggregate and individual governance indicators 1996–2007. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper no. 4654. New York: The World Bank.
  • Knack, S., & Keefer, P. (1995). Institutions and economic performance: Cross-country tests using alternative institutional indicators. Economics and Politics, 7 (3), 207–228.
  • Retrieved 16–06-2016 from
  • Kurtz, M., & Schrank, A. (2007). Growth and governance: Models, measures, and mechanisms. The Journal of Politics, 69 (2), 538–554.
  • Lewis, G., & Frank, S. (2002). Who wants to work for the government? Public Administration Review, 62 (4), 395–404.
  • Loughlin, J. (1994). Nation, state, and region in Western Europe. In: L. Bekemans (ed.), Culture: Building stone for Europe. Reflections and Perspectives (pp. 229-247). Brussels: European Interuniversity Press.
  • Lynn, L. E., Heinrich, C. J., & Hill, C. J. (2000). Studying governance and public management: Challenges and prospects. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 10 (2), 233–262.
  • Menkhaus, K. J. (2010). State fragility as a wicked problem. Prism, 1 (2), 85–100.
  • Ministerie van BZK (2009). Nederlandse code voor goed openbaar bestuur. Beginselen van deugdelijk overheidsbestuur. Den Haag: Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties.
  • Neshkova, M., & Rosenbaum, A. (2015). Advancing good government through fighting corruption. In: P. A. Volcker (ed.), Handbook of Public Administration. San Francisco: Jossey-Bas.
  • Nickell, S., & Quintini, G. (2002). The consequences of the decline in public sector pay in Britain: A little bit of evidence. The Economic Journal, 112 (477), F107–F118.
  • OECD (2013). Government at a Glance 2013. Paris: OECD Publishing.
  • OECD (2015). Government at a Glance 2015. Paris: OECD Publishing.
  • Olsen, J. (2004). Citizens, public administration and the search for theoretical foundations. Conference proceedings, John Gaus lecture.
  • Peters, B.G., & Pierre, J. (2012). Handbook of Public Administration. London: Sage Publications.
  • Pitlik, H., Hözl, W., Brandtner, C., & Steurs, G. (2012). Excellence in Public Administration. Brussels: European Union.
  • Pratchett, L., & Lowndes, V. (2004). Developing Democracy in Europe. An Analytical Summary of the Council of Europe’s Acquis. Strasbourg: Council of Europe.
  • Rauch, J., & Evans, P. (2000). Bureaucratic structure and bureaucratic performance in less developed countries. Journal of Public Economics, 75 (1), 49–71.
  • Rothstein, B., Charron, N., & Lapuente, V. (2013). Quality of Government and Corruption from a European Perspective: A Comparative Study on the Quality of Government in EU Regions. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc.
  • UNESCAP (2007). What is Good Governance? New York: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. Retrieved 16–06-2016 from
  • UNESCO (2008). Press Freedom and Development. Paris: UNESCO.
  • United Nations (2014). Good Governance and Human Rights. Retrieved 4–03-2013, from
  • Van de Walle, S., Sterck, M., van Dooren, W., Bouckaert, G., & Pommer, E. (2004). Public administration. In: B. Kuhry (ed.), Public Sector Performance. Den Haag: Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau.
  • Wagener, H. (2004). Good governance, welfare, and transformation. The European Journal of Comparative Economics, 1 (1), 127–143.
  • Waldo, D. (1968). Public administration. The Journal of Politics, 30 (2), 443–479.
  • World Bank (2013). Worldwide governance indicators: WGI dataset. Retrieved 16–06-2016 from
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.