The need to balance austerity with growth policies has put government efficiency high on the economic policy agenda in Europe.
Administrative reforms that boost the internal efficiency of bureaucracy can alleviate the trade-off between consolidation
and public service provision. Against such a backdrop, this paper constructs (and makes available) a novel reform indicator
to explore the determinants of public administration reforms for a panel of EU countries. The findings support political-economic
reasoning: An economic and fiscal crisis is a potent catalyst for reforms, but a powerful bureaucracy constrains the opportunities
of a crisis to promote reform. Furthermore, there is some suggestive evidence for horizontal learning from other EU countries,
and for vertical learning associated with a particular type of EU cohesion spending.
JEL-Codes:H83, H11, D73
Keywords:TP_Europa_Budget Euro-crisis, Public sector efficiency, Cohesion policy, Theory of bureaucracy
Research group:Macroeconomics and European Economic Policy