The Art of the State: Culture, Rhetoric, and Public Management

Clarendon Press
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Why does public management–the art of the state–so often go wrong, producing failure and fiasco instead of public service? What are the different ways in which control or regulation can be applied to government? Why do we find contradictory recipes for the improvement of public services? Are the forces of modernity set to produce worldwide convergence in ways of organizing government? This important new study aims to explore such questions, central to current debates over public management. Combining contemporary and historical experience, it employs grid/group cultural theory as an organizing frame and method of exploration. Using examples from different places and eras, the study seeks to identify the recurring variety of ideas about how to organize public services. And contrary to widespread claims that modernization will bring a new global uniformity, it argues that variety is unlikely to disappear from doctrine and practice in public management.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Clarendon Press
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Published on
Jul 9, 1998
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Pages
276
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ISBN
9780191521126
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Government & Business
Business & Economics / Management
Political Science / Public Policy / Economic Policy
Political Science / Public Policy / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Christopher Hood
Christopher Hood
This volume identifies and compares 'fiscal squeezes' (major efforts to cut public spending and/or raise taxes) in the UK over a century from 1900 to 2015. The authors examine how different the politics of fiscal squeeze and austerity is today from what it was a century ago, how (if at all) fiscal squeezes reshaped the state and the provision of public services, and how political credit and blame played out after austerity episodes. The analysis is both quantitative and qualitative, starting with reported financial outcomes from historical statistics and then going behind those numbers to explore the political choices and processes in play. This analysis identifies some patterns that have not been explained or even recognized in earlier works on retrenchment and austerity. For example, it identifies a long term shift from what it terms a 'surgery without anaesthetics' approach (deep but short-lived episodes of spending restraint or tax increases) in the earlier part of the period towards a 'boiling frogs' approach (episodes in which the pain is spread out over a longer period) in more recent decades. It also identifies a curious reduction of revenue-led squeezes in more recent decades, and a puzzle over why blame-avoidance logic only led to outsourcing painful decisions over squeeze in a minority of cases. Furthermore, the volume's distinctive approach to classifying types of fiscal squeezes and qualitatively assessing their intensity seeks to solve the puzzle as to why voter'punishment' of governments that impose austerity policies seems to be so erratic.
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