Gerhard Hammerschmid and co-authors receive 2019 IIAS award for best article

Annual Christopher Pollitt prize honours best paper published in the International Review of Administrative Sciences (IRAS).

The International Institute of Administrative Sciences (IIAS) has awarded Hertie School Professor of Public and Financial Management Gerhard Hammerschmid its 2019 Christopher Pollitt award for a paper written with Steve van de Walle of KU Leuven, Rhys Andrews of Cardiff University and Ahmed Mohammed Sayed Mostafa of the University of Warwick. The annual award is given for the best paper published in the International Review of Administrative Sciences (IRAS).

The 2019 article, “New Public Management reforms in Europe and their effects: findings from a 20-country top executive survey“, assesses the impact of New Public Management (NPM) reforms in European countries. NPM borrows business practices in its approach to public services to improve efficiency and citizens’ experiences with the public sector. 

Using data from a survey of top public management officials in 20 European countries, the authors look at the relationship between five key NPM reforms (downsizing, agencification, contracting out, customer orientation and flexible employment practices) and four dimensions of public sector performance: cost efficiency, service quality, policy coherence and coordination, and equal access to services. 

The prize committee said the paper “…is an interesting and well-written comparative study containing original material and with useful reflections on the impact of New Public Management on the efficiency of public organizations.”

The researchers find that treating service users as customers and implementing flexible employment measures are positively related to improvements in all four dimensions of performance. Contracting out and downsizing are both positively related to improved efficiency, but downsizing is also associated with worse service quality. The creation of autonomous agencies is unrelated to performance. This suggests that policymakers who want to modernise the public sector should prioritise managerial reforms within public organisations over structural transformations, the authors conclude.

The award will be presented at a conference at a date to be announced later.  


More about Gerhard Hammerschmid

  • Gerhard Hammerschmid , Professor of Public and Financial Management | Director, Centre for Digital Governance