Grant Period : Dec 2016 to Nov 2019
Faculty : AOKI, Naomi
The scholarship on comparative public administration addresses how nation-states differ with respect to their administrative traditions, which consist of ideas and structures’ “that compose more or less enduring pattern in the style and substance of public administration in a particular country or group of countries” (Painter and Peters 2010: 6). these traditions are often classified as Anglo-Saxon, Germanic Continental European, French Continental European, and Scandinavian, differing in respect to government structures, the role of civil society, and the relationship between civil servants and politicians, and state and society, among other considerations.
the aforementioned typology remains predominantly western; my first goal is to develop measures of administrative traditions for a wide pool of East, South, Southeast, and Central Asian economies. Given the multi-faceted conceptions of administrative traditions, I will focus on factors influencing dimensions which arguably determine what Knill (1999) called “administrative reform capacity,” namely, (i) the strength of executive leadership, (ii) the degree of entrenchment of administrative arrangements, and (iii) the political influence of bureaucracies. I propose to (a) collect variables pertinent to these dimensions, (b) use factor or principal component analysis to construct parsimonious measures of administrative traditions, and (c) use the data to systematically compare administrative traditions across Asia.
Measuring administrative traditions over a wider pool of countries is important for three reasons. First, the data would uncover aspects of public administrations that have been passed over by current political and regime indicators, even though public administrations can be influential political entities, and the data would help to enhance our understanding of political and administrative institutions. Second, such cross-country data would eventually open up a new realm of empirical research from a global perspective, with regard to the linkages between the nature of public administration and important variables, including government reform capability, government performance, democracy, equity, and stability.
to showcase how the data can be utilized for hypothesis testing, my second goal is to use it in a cross-country study, examining whether the variation in administrative traditions explains the variation in “administrative reform capacity” as hypothesized by Knill (1999) and whether administrative traditions explain the status of a globally promoted administrative reform across countries. My last goal is to examine a certain aspect of administrative traditions – i.e. the relationship between the state (i.e. public administrators) and society (i.e., citizens) – by focusing on Japan, in whose language I am fluent. to achieve this goal, I plan to collect primary data through a nation-wide survey targeted at Japanese citizens.
I aim to produce three journal articles, each based on one of the three components above. Through this project, I plan to produce data on administrative traditions and a survey questionnaire that can be used by scholars both inside and outside Asia in future research. I also aim to contribute to generating Asia-based knowledge for policy makers in Asia, who are eager to learn from Asia. As for feasibility, the number of countries to be included in the final dataset will have to depend on the availability of data in respective countries. I trust that achieving my last goal is feasible because I have prior experience in conducting a nationwide survey targeted at Japanese citizens.