Structure and Organisation of Government Project - SOG-PRO


Why are some administrative organizations successfully created, frequently reorganized, merged, or
terminated, whereas others are seemingly ?immortal? and become more powerful than the elected
politicians that created and control them? This question has become pertinent, especially in the past
three decades, within European parliamentary democracies. By the end of the 1970s, when the golden
era of welfare state expansion and state growth came to an end, a new generation of political leaders
such as President Ronald Reagan of the United States and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the
United Kingdom initiated a series of administrative reform trajectories ? privatization, deregulation,
agencification, liberalization, decentralization, and New Public Management ? with the aim to
fundamentally alter the scope and scale of central government and sparked off several reform
trajectories across the developed and developing economies.
This project develops and applies a novel framework that will systematically map and explain
organizational changes within central government cross-nationally in four European parliamentary
democracies, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, over the last three decades,
the period following the initiation of New Public Management reforms in the United Kingdom and
elsewhere in advanced economies. This project builds upon the most influential theory of the structure
and organization of central governments, which is the ?theory of the politics of structural choice?. We
develop a comparative quantitative dataset of organizational changes within the central governments of
these four countries for the period 1980 and 2010. We also examine changes in the structure and
organization of government across four selected policy areas in these countries.
The key research aims of this project are then
1. To develop and apply cross-nationally a framework for consistently mapping the changing
organizational structure of the central governments of France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United
Kingdom between 1980 and 2010.
2. To identify patterns of change, especially establish whether change is incremental or subject to
punctuations with periods of greater stability between these periods, to identify convergence or
distinctiveness between countries and to identify any trends within or across countries and policy sectors.
3. To adapt and test the US-based theory of the politics of structural choice on patterns of
structural and organizational change within the institutional context of European parliamentary


Project number


Main applicant

Prof. dr. A.K. Yesilkagit

Affiliated with

Universiteit Leiden, Faculteit Campus Den Haag, Centre for Government Studies

Team members

Dr. B.J. Carroll MA, Dr. S.L. Kuipers


01/09/2014 to 31/08/2017