SG II: Civil Service and Politics - IIAS-IISA - International Institute of Administrative Sciences - Institut international des Sciences administratives

General information about IIAS’ Study Group “Civil Service and Politics New Political Governance”

Executive governments are faced with increasing societal and political pressures. Such pressures may derive from, amongst other factors, increased electoral volatility and polarization, changes in mass media and communications, increased freedom of information and government transparency, and the internationalization of policy challenges. Presidents, prime-ministers and cabinets have found and indeed used different responses to such pressures, many of which include either attempts to delegate responsibility outward (such as privatization, agencification, decentralization, Europeanization), and/or attempts to increase grip on their sphere of responsibility (such as performance management, audits, politicization, increased media management). Each of these responses may have substantial consequences for the interaction between politicians in government and their civil servants, and for the positioning of civil servants vis-à-vis their political superiors. The panels address the following questions:

  • What is the impact of the heightened pressures on the executive on the relationship between civil servants and politicians?
  • To what extent are changes in political-administrative relations similar across countries and continents?
  • How is the policy advice function of civil servants and external policy advisers changing?
  • To what extent is the degree of civil service politicization increasing or decreasing and in what manner?
  • What are the key drivers for civil service politicization?
  • To what extent are changes in political-administrative relations specific to national level government or comparable across the local, regional, national and international layers of government?

The latest meeting of the study group was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during the IIAS Congress.


Caspar F. van den Berg
Assistant Professor in Public Administration
Leiden University, Campus The Hague
[email protected]

International Institute of Administrative Sciences
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