Bureaucratic Change in the European Administrative Space: The Case of the European Commission

West European Politics, 2008

Posted: 7 Jan 2019

See all articles by Tim Balint

Tim Balint

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Michael W. Bauer

Max-Planck Project Group

Christoph Knill

University of Konstanz; University of Jena - Institute of Political Science

Date Written: June 19, 2008

Abstract

In this article, we compare bureaucratic change in the European Commission with developments in the public administrations of the member states of the European Union using two standard features of the study of comparative public administration: the degree of politicisation of the higher management and the degree of openness of the career system. The empirical data shows that the Commission started as a public administration in the Continental tradition and over time partially moved towards the Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian models. At the same time, the majority of the member states remained rather stable with regard to their position along the two administrative dimensions under study. We argue that none of the mechanisms commonly invoked to explain organisational change — functional adaptation, path dependency, isomorphism or policy windows — can convincingly account for the complete pattern and the magnitude of change that we observe in the case of the European Commission. While we find no convincing support for the relevance of functional adaptation or path dependency, the concepts of isomorphism and policy windows provide a more promising basis for understanding at least some aspects of the empirical development.

Suggested Citation

Balint, Tim and Bauer, Michael W. and Knill, Christoph, Bureaucratic Change in the European Administrative Space: The Case of the European Commission (June 19, 2008). West European Politics, 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3305670

Tim Balint (Contact Author)

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) ( email )

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Italy

Michael W. Bauer

Max-Planck Project Group ( email )

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Christoph Knill

University of Konstanz ( email )

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University of Jena - Institute of Political Science ( email )

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