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Challenges in Institutional Change

From the 1980s on, the New Public Management paradigm has led to a plethora of
managerial changes, which have, in turn, led to the involvement of a greater array of actors: semi-autonomous agencies, businesses, non-profit organizations and (groups of) citizens. At the same time, we have seen large-scale decentralization and financial austerity.

Visible concerns
These two developments are important research themes for the PA department. They result in several challenges to public administration: public services are embedded in an increasingly complex mixture of state, market, and civil society institutions at multiple levels and accompanying regulatory, financing, and governance arrangements. One area where this is most visible concerns local public services.

Future research will explore the growing role of local networks of public authorities and service providers, in social and health services as well as in other areas, as well as the changing role of local governments. PA researchers also study the engagement of vulnerable and marginalised citizens and civil society in public services, building on the findings of several international projects funded by the European Framework Programmes.