Although there have been other studies of elite administrators in France, Great Britain, Germany, and Russia, John Armstrong has made the first systematic comparison of their roles, especially their inclination to participate in economic development. Drawing on role theory and theories of socialization and recruitment, he analyzes the influences that family, secondary school, specialized university instruction, and in-service experiences have had on administrators. Currents of ideas, class concepts of appropriate role behavior, and organizational peculiarities are also examined as possible influences.

By exploring this subject over a long period—in some cases reaching as far back as the seventeenth century—this book shows how changing definitions of administrators' roles reflect their position in society and permit the exploration of changing socialization processes. The long time span also shows how factors such as administrative intervention can change from being marginally important to crucial in affecting economic growth.

From the diverse European experience the author distills five factors which he hypothesizes have exerted a constant positive influence on administrative intervention in economic development, and suggests how these factors might be applied in analysis of other societies. He also provides a wealth of statistical data and an extensive bibliography.

Originally published in 1973.

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