NPM: Restoring the Public Trust through Creating Distrust?

Authored by: Steven Van de Walle

The Ashgate Research Companion to New Public Management

Print publication date:  December  2010
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754678069
eBook ISBN: 9781315613321
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042372


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Policy makers frequently invoked restoring the public sector’s legitimacy as one of the main motivations for public sector reform in the 1980s and 1990s. Low or declining public trust in government and a decline of the public sector’s legitimacy (perceived or real) became a central motivation for public sector reform efforts, notably NPM-style reforms. Low public trust worried governments. Not just because of a rise of populist political parties in many Western countries, but also because it was seen to hinder effective recruitment into the public sector, and because low trust required greater government efforts to ensure citizens’ compliance (OECD 2000a: 25).

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