Old habits die hard, sometimes: History and civil service politicization in Europe

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


This article examines relationships between historical administrative systems and civil service politicization across Europe. I argue that to appreciate when and how history matters, we need to consider public service bargains struck between politicians and senior bureaucrats. Doing so complicates the relationship between historical and current administrative systems: a bureaucratic, as opposed to patrimonial, 18th-century state infrastructure is necessary for the depoliticization of ministerial bureaucracies in present-day Western Europe. However, the relationship does not hold in East-Central Europe since administrative histories are tumultuous and fractured. Combining data from across the European continent, I provide evidence in support of these propositions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Review of Administrative Sciences
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)803-819
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes

Cite this