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Controlling Modern Government: variety, commonality and change

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Christopher Hood|, Oliver James, B Guy Peters, Colin Scott (eds)
Edward Elgar (2005)

Are public sector institutions being exposed to ever greater oversight, audit and inspection in the name of efficiency, accountability and risk management? Controlling Modern Government explores the long-term development of controls over government across five major state traditions in developed democracies - US, Japan, variants of continental-European models, Scandinavian case and variants of the Westminster model.

A central aspect of the study is an eight country comparison of variety in the use of controls based in oversight, competition, mutuality and contrived randomness in the selected domains of the high bureaucracy at the core of the state, the higher education sector and the prison sector. Countries covered include Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the UK and the USA.

Providing a comparison of trends in the last quarter century in control over public sector activities in OECD countries, this book will be invaluable reading for academics and graduate students focusing on political science and public administration in OECD countries.


'Controlling Modern Government is likely to become a seminal text in the field of control and accountability systems. Christopher Hood and his colleagues have produced a majestic volume that exposes and teases apart the multitude of co-existent control mechanisms that are to be found across time, policy fields and jurisdictions. The outcome is a nuanced understanding of the complexity of modern governance and the importance of state traditions and professional cultures.'
Matthew Flinders, Public Administration

'...a most disciplined book that spells out what it is going to do then does it well.'
Malcolm Crompton, Public Administration Today

'This book sets a new standard for systematic use of comparative information in studies on accountability and control. It is a welcome change from the past tendency in this field to build theoretical mountains on empirical molehills.'
Charles Polidano, Office of the prime minister, Malta