AuthorHalaskova, Martina
  1. Introduction

    Comparative administrative science usually consists of two branches, first of which employs historically comparative methods, and the second--a spatial one, uses geographically comparative methods (Blondel, 1990; Rowat, 1984). Usage of historically and geographically comparative methods represents research of developmental associations on the basis of empirical data, leading to considerations of complex systems of public administration and administrative law, which is traditionally the task of comparative administrative science (Diamant, 1960, p. 7; Heady, 2001; Farazmand, 2001). Models, usable for comparative purposes of public administration in EU countries, can be traced in literature (the traditional models of public administration, models based on the type of state system and administrative levels, models of civil services, models of geographic and geocultural perspective, models of local government and territorial organization and Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics-NUTS) (Bossaert et al., 2001; Farazmand, 2001; Pollit and Bauckaert, 2000; Rosenbloom, Kravchuk and Clerkin, 2009).

    Another view of public administration is the level of decentralization (fiscal, income, taxation) and its impacts on public services in EU countries, territorial reforms and solutions to financial and economic crisis (Finzgar and Oplotnik, 2013; Governatori and Yim, 2012; Halaskova and Halaskova, 2014; Neyapti, 2010; Szarowska, 2013).

    However, open questions remain as to the trends in public administration in managing and procuring public services in EU countries, in understanding public service effectiveness and standardization possibilities. A number of authors pay attention to this issue, such as Demmke (2007), Denhardt and Denhardt (2000), Dollery and Robotti (2008), Mikusova Merickova and Nemec (2013), and Vlcek (2010). These authors focus on either partial specific issues (territorial, personal, financial, etc.) or more detailed analyses of public administration in one or more selected states of the EU. Using a theoretical-empirical approach, this paper aims to assess the structure of public administration in EU countries, including the financial dimension in 2003, 2009 and 2013. Attention is paid to comparison of fiscal decentralization and expenditures of the public administration sector at each administrative level.

  2. Methods

    In the paper we use statistical data (Eurostat, 2014) and EU documentation focused on the structure of public administration and public expenditures in the EU. Regarding general scientific methods, the method of induction and the method of deduction, especially when drawing conclusions were used. The method of comparative analysis was used to compare total general government, central and local government expenditures and the extent of fiscal decentralization in EU (28) in 2003, 2009 and 2013. For comparisons of public expenditures according to levels of public administration in EU countries in 2013, a hierarchical cluster analysis was applied where three clusters of countries were created. Cluster analysis is a multidimensional statistical method used to classify objects. It helps to divide observed units (territories, regions, lands) into several groups in such a manner that most similar units are included in the same group (cluster) and conversely so that the units of individual clusters differ as much as possible. Individual steps of the cluster analysis differ depending on how the 'closeness' or 'distance' of the units is perceived within the groups, also depending on whether the set of units is gradually divided, separated or conversely composed, connected according to selected criteria. The cluster analysis can be classified differently due to the fact that a number of authors deal with this issue (Everitt et al., 2011). Based on the type of used computational algorithms, the methods of cluster analysis are: hierarchical, parallel and sequential. Various methods are used to measure the distances between points of interval variables. Most often the measures used are of Euclidean distances.

    d(X,Y)= [square root of ([SIGMA] [([X.sub.i] - [Y.sub.i])).sup.2]] (1), or of Squared Euclidean

    d(X,Y) = [([X.sub.i] - [Y.sub.i]).sup.2]) (2).

    A diagram used to show the individual steps of the cluster analysis is called a Dendrogram. The vertical axis helps to find the required rate of clustering and the horizontal axis represents the distance between individual clusters. Dendrograms show in a graphic way the process of the whole analysis and the results can be thus viewed in both directions--forward and backward, and thus the optimal result can be found. In this example, the method of hierarchical cluster analysis with the use of Ward's method and of measuring distance quadrants was used. A box plot has been created to compare general government expenditures in EU (28). The upper and lower quartiles define the extent of the variables observed (central government expenditures as percentage of GDP, local government expenditures as percentage of GDP, and fiscal decentralization of expenditures). The median is shown in the box. The statistical data from the Eurostat have been processed using the IBM SPSS Statistics 21 software.

  3. Theoretical framework: the position of public administration in the European administrative area

    The position of public administration in the EU is based on the assumptions necessary for its proper functioning. Each country is obliged to respect and abide by certain common administrative and legal principles (four pillars of the administrative area), those being: (a) reliability and predictability; (b) openness and transparency; (c) responsibility, and (d) effectiveness (Knill, 2001; Kohler-Koch and Eising, 1999).

    In the European administrative area, three or four major systems of public administration that are inextricably intertwined with the traditional development of the states of origin, with regards to different political and organizational culture and administrative style, are considered. One can most often meet with the differentiation of the island and continental tradition, where the French and German (Central European) branch of continental tradition can be distinguished. It is also possible to add the Nordic and Scandinavian tradition to these systems (Blondel, 1990; Farazmand, 2001; Heady, 2001; Rowat, 1984). Based on these traditions, the following established systems can be perceived:

    --Anglo-Saxon, profiting from the once perfect British island isolation;

    --French, or more precisely Napoleonic, profiting from continental tradition of Unitarianism and Centralism;

    --German (Central European), profiting from continental tradition of federalism and decentralization; and

    --Scandinavian, which combines features of the Anglo-Saxon and German branch.

    Different models of public administration tradition can be assigned to EU (28), as depicted in Table 1.

    The significance of different traditions in administration, such as the classical contrast between continental systems of public law on one side, and systems of the Anglo-Saxon common law on the other, is often emphasized in comparative research on administration, e.g. comparative studies (EIPA, 2008). However, these six criteria of EU countries division, which the authors shall use from this point on, have also their pitfalls that need to be taken into consideration during the differentiation. For illustration, matching Slovenia and the Netherlands with the system of continental European tradition, and Ireland and Malta with the Anglo-Saxon tradition of public administration. Similarly, categorization of the Baltic States into different traditional models of public administration creates a different view of these countries (Estonia matched with the Scandinavian tradition, Lithuania and Latvia with the Eastern-European tradition of public administration). Apart from that, there are marked differences between Eastern-European countries, and EU member states represented by Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia.

  4. Structure and differentiation of public administration in EU countries

    The European Union comprises of twenty-eight member states, including three with a federal structure (Germany, Austria and Belgium), one quasi-federal state (Spain), and twenty-four unitary states. Still, a large part of unitary states is further divided into decentralized unitary states (Denmark, Finland, France, Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Romania, Lithuania, Slovenia, Latvia, Estonia and Croatia) and unitary states with dominant position of central government (Ireland, Portugal, Greece, Luxembourg and Bulgaria). Also, unitary states with a special position are distinguished (Italy, United Kingdom, Malta and Cyprus) (CCRE-CEMR, 2012).

    4.1. Subnational government in EU and its specifics

    The structure of local and regional government in European countries varies with respect to...

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