Public Administration Shaped by Demand for Crisis Management

Civic Review· VOL 17. Special Issue, 2021, 251–264., DOI: 10.24307/psz.2021.0018

Dr. Márton Gellén, associate professor, National University of Public Service, Budapest, Hungary (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).


The issue of centralization is one of the classics of public administration science. Hungary’s public sector reforms have raised the interest of international academic inquiry. Accounts of the reforms appear to share the same intrinsic judgement that centralization should be rejected per se while decentralization is unquestionably desirable. This has been contrasted recently with the evident need for effective crisis management that is usually attributed to clear hierarchic relations and top-down initiatives. The proposed paper has a context-oriented standpoint having in mind the important lesson of the policy transfer (and policy failure) theory, that solutions that appear to work in a certain context, might not work in another. In order to examine the Hungarian development path with a somewhat more detailed perspective, the following methods are used in the article: path dependence theory (pendulum effect) of public sector reforms on a factual basis and making comparison with the recent development patha reference country in the region (Slovakia). The article puts forth propositions for the future how the crisis consolidation process is recommended to be completed by corresponding literature.

Journal of Economic Literature (JEL) codes: H12, H83, P21
Keywords: transition, centralization, public administration reform, democratization