Governance and Public Sector Reform in Asia: Paradigm Shifts or Business as Usual?

Governance and Public Sector Reform in Asia: Paradigm Shifts or Business as Usual?

Governance and Public Sector Reform in Asia: Paradigm Shifts or Business as Usual?

Governance and Public Sector Reform in Asia: Paradigm Shifts or Business as Usual?

Synopsis

Based on new field research, this book assesses the current state of governance and public sector reforms in eleven Asian countries and jurisdictions, especially in the wake of the recent regional financial crisis that seriously affected some of them. It analyses reform efforts comparatively against a backdrop of governance problems, and seeks to establish whether these efforts represent a substantive shift in attitudes towards reform or whether they serve simply to reinforce existing practices. The authors explore a number of important themes that are central to governance and public sector reform issues. These include the role of the state, the success or failure of organizational reforms, corruption, the applicability of the new public management model in the Asian context, and the governance values and reform models promoted by regional and international agencies.

Excerpt

This book is an attempt to assess the state of governance and public sector reforms in eleven Asian countries and jurisdictions. In the wake of the Asian financial crisis that erupted towards the end of 1997, these reforms assumed a prominence on the agendas of many Asian countries and appeared to offer the promise of institutional remedies for the problems that had jeopardised economic miracles and caused considerable hardship. To what extent, however, are the reforms new agendas for action? Do they simply serve to disguise the continuance of long-established practices? How do governance values and ideas about public sector reform relate to existing reform programmes that preceded the financial crisis? How important are the reforms in addressing the critical political and economic concerns facing many Asian countries? What is the situation in those countries, China and Japan among them, where the financial crisis had a relatively more limited impact but where many commentators still perceive the need for urgent governance and public sector reforms?

Although there can be no definitive answers to these questions at this stage, a preliminary assessment of progress, or lack of it, helps to establish the extent to which the causes of the crisis, and other problems associated with it, have been addressed and, by implication, the likelihood that similar predicaments will re-occur. In those countries where the financial crisis was not a deciding factor in the reforms, the study helps to bring to light the various domestic and institutional dynamics that underpin the reform agenda. The impact of these reforms on the future of the public sector and the system of governance is a further theme explored in each of the country chapters.

The research project, the findings of which form the substance of this book, was conceived in early 2000 as a flagship project (with dedicated funding) of the Centre for Comparative Public Management and Social Policy at the City University of Hong Kong. The then Director of the Centre, Anthony Cheung, invited the Asia Research Centre at Murdoch University to participate in a collaborative venture that would eventually span eleven Asian countries and jurisdictions. Workshops on the project were held at Murdoch University in September 2000 and the City University of Hong Kong in January 2001. The project has received financial and other support from both Research Centres

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