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Licenta, Alexandru loan Cuza University, 2002

M.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004


Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements

for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science
in the Graduate College of the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009

Urbana, Illinois

Doctoral Committee:

Associate Professor Carol Leff, Chair

Professor William Bernhard
Assistant Professor Zachary Elkins
Professor James Kuklinski
UMI Number: 3362793


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This study examines the civil service systems adopted in the post-communist Central and

Eastern European democracies. While these new democracies underwent a process of civil

service reform with the goal of increasing the level of bureaucratic professionalism and

efficiency, civil service performance varies greatly in the region. Motivated by this empirical

puzzle, this work answers two main questions: (1) What do the civil service systems created

through civil service laws look like? and (2) In the absence of differences in institutional

design, why do administrative apparatuses function better in certain countries than in others?

In response to the first question, by using original data, this study finds that the formal

provisions that regulate the civil service systems (as stipulated in civil service laws) differ only

marginally across countries, establishing institutions which display primarily elements of

professionalism and independence from political interference. Using four case studies, I answer

the second question by taking into account the interplay between party competition and the

modernization of state bureaucracy. In countries with party systems that display signs of

institutionalization (e.g., low fragmentation and low volatility), there is little political

patronage, as party competition is able to constrain cronyism. In the absence of political

patronage, the civil service is filled with professionals chosen on a meritocratic basis, which

enhances the system's overall quality. In contrast, countries with underinstitutionalized party

systems (e.g., high fragmentation and high volatility) cannot rely upon party competition to

constrain patronage politics. In such countries, the civil service is saturated with politically

motivated appointments, undermining the level of professionalism in the entire system.

For my parents, to whom I owe my love for knowledge


For Houbi, who makes it all worthwhile


It has been a great privilege to work on my thesis with two wonderful scholars and mentors,

Carol Leff and Zach Elkins, who have encouraged me to challenge the traditional ways of

investigating existing questions. In particular, I thank them for providing a critical eye

toward scientific integrity and rigor in my research. I also want to thank the remaining

members of my thesis committee, Bill Bernhard and Jim Kuklinski, for taking the time from

their busy lives to improve my thesis with helpful suggestions and advice. Of course, none of

this work would have ever materialized in the form of a dissertation without the support of

the Political Science Department's secretaries, Julie Elliott and Brenda Stamm, who have

guided me through the logistical hurdles of graduate school.

The financial support offered by the Cline Center for Democracy and the Comparative

Constitutions Project has been indispensable to my work, allowing me to complete this thesis.

My gratitude goes to Peter Nardulli, Zach Elkins, Tom Ginsburg, and James Melton for

making me a member of their research teams. Having accepted a job as a political affairs

officer, before actually completing this project, I have had the luxury of enjoying the fruits of

my labor prematurely. As such, I must thank my colleagues at the United Nations for giving

me the opportunity to work in an intellectually stimulating environment.

My friends were more important to me in this process than they can realize. Alexandra

Cupan supported me when theories broke down and data were not available and I am

indebted to her for our lifelong friendship. Svitlana Chernykh has been sympathetic to the

challenges of graduate school and I am grateful for her support. With her own successful

doctoral defense approaching, she continues to be a great scholar. I would also like to

acknowledge: Michelle Garvey, for her unbridled optimism; Ruslan Konstantinov, for his

refreshing skepticism; Marja Engel, for her analytical mind; Florin Fenic, for helping me

choose a research question; Adriana Prata, for always listening when I needed her; and

Georgina Cheng and Wallapak Polasub, for being such wonderful roommates and friends.

Of course, none of this would have been possible without the support of my family. In

particular, I wish to thank my parents for encouraging me to always reach higher and to never

doubt my abilities. I thank my father for teaching me to be intellectually curious (I am

convinced that I have acquired my love for news from seeing him read newspapers). I thank

my mother for her unwavering support and her devotion to my success. And, of course, for

her tasty food. I thank my sister, Diana, for setting a very high standard of excellence in both

her professional life and her personal life - one that I can only hope to achieve. She is a model

for me and I would not have started my doctoral studies had she not encouraged and

supported me to do so. I thank my brother-in-law, Radu, for being such a generous and kind

person. I also thank my nieces, Alexandra and Emma, who have alleviated many of my

worries and frustrations with kisses and smiles. I am convinced that they will grow up to be

wonderful scientists themselves. During my graduate career I have acquired a new family, the

Nguyen family. I thank me, ba, Bobby, Tony, and Auntie Tuyeet for their support.

Finally, I wish to acknowledge my husband, Houbi. I am grateful to him for his never-dying

belief in my ability to complete this project. Because we met and got married during our

graduate studies, I consider graduate school to be our first joint adventure. Our moves to the

San Francisco Bay Area and New York City are only the beginning of our life together and I

anticipate with pleasure the many future adventures upon which we will certainly embark.

Table of Contents

List of Figures . ix

List of Tables x

List of Abbreviations xi

Introduction 1
0.1 Why Should We Study the Civil Service in CEE? 4
0.2 How Should We Study Civil Service Reform? 6
0.2.1 Research Design - Analysis of Civil Service Systems 7
0.2.2 Research Design - Party Competition and Civil Service Reform . . . . . . . 9
0.3 Organizational Summary 9

Chapter 1 Democracy and Bureaucracy 11

1.1 Access to Power vs. Exercise of Power 11
1.2 Explaining the Role of Bureaucracy in a Democratic State Through the Rule of
Law 14
1.2.1 Denning Rule of Law 14
1.2.2 Rule of Law and Democratic State 15
1.2.3 Role of Bureaucracy in Strengthening the Rule of Law 16
1.2.4 Democratizing Effects of the Bureaucracy 19
1.2.5 Large-N Analysis on the Relationship Between Democracy and Rule of
Law 21
1.3 Bureaucratization and Party System Characteristics 23

Chapter 2 Models of Civil Service Systems 24

2.1 Historical Evolution of the Civil Service 25
2.1.1 Phase 1: Civil Servants as Personal Servants 26
2.1.2 Phase 2: Civil Servants as State Servants 27
2.1.3 Phase 3: Civil Servants as Public Servants 28
2.1.4 Phase 4: Civil Service as Protected Service 29
2.1.5 Phase 5: Civil Service as Professional Service 29
2.2 Administrative Models 30
2.2.1 Weberian Bureaucracy 30
2.2.2 New Public Management Approach 32
2.3 The Civil Service in Central and Eastern Europe 34
2.3.1 Communist Bureaucracies 34
2.3.2 Perspectives on Administrative Development in CEE 37

Chapter 3 Civil Service Systems 42
3.1 Why Do We Need a Civil Service Law? 46
3.2 Dimensions of Civil Service Systems 48
3.2.1 Capacity 49
3.2.2 Professionalism 59
3.2.3 Independence from External Influence 78
3.2.4 Transparency 82
3.2.5 Accountability 84
3.3 Conclusions 88

Chapter 4 De Facto Systems: Romania 94

4.1 Romanian Civil Service 96
4.1.1 Background . 96
4.1.2 Reform Process 98
4.2 Romanian Civil Service System 102
4.2.1 Description of the Data 102
4.2.2 Civil Servants Profile 102
4.2.3 Capacity 105
4.2.4 Professionalism 107
4.2.5 Independence from External Influence 110
4.2.6 Transparency 112
4.2.7 Accountability 113
4.2.8 Conclusions 114
4.3 Findings in Other Countries 115
4.3.1 Post-Communist Phenomenon 115
4.3.2 Other Regions 117
4.4 What Explains the Quality of Bureaucracy? 118

Chapter 5 Reform and Party Competition 119

5.1 Case Selection 122
5.2 Patronage Politics 123
5.2.1 Operationalization of Patronage Politics . 124
5.2.2 Consequences of Patronage Politics 128
5.2.3 Alternative Explanations 129
5.3 Party System Characteristics 132
5.3.1 Measures of Party System Institutionalization 133
5.4 Poland: Fragmented Party System 134
5.4.1 Evolution of the Party System 134
5.4.2 Civil Service Reform 138
5.5 Hungary: Bipolar Coalitions System 140
5.5.1 Evolution of the Party System 140
5.5.2 Civil Service Reform 143
5.6 The Czech Republic: Bipolar Party System 146
5.6.1 Evolution of the Party System 146
5.6.2 Civil Service Reform 148
5.7 Slovakia: Dominant-Party System 150
5.7.1 Evolution of the Party System 150
5.7.2 Civil Service Reform 153
5.8 Conclusions 155

Conclusions 156

Appendix A 161

Appendix B Additional CEE Civil Service Systems Characteristics 167

Technical Characteristics 167
Principles Governing the Civil Service 171
Scope of the Laws 173
Public Employees Expressly Included in the Scope of the Law 173
Public Employees Expressly Excluded from the Scope of the Law 176
Rights 180
Duties . . 182
Code of Ethics 185
Termination of Service 187
Appeal Bodies 188

Bibliography 190

Author's Biography 204

List of Figures

1.1 Regime Type and Rule of Law 2004 16

1.2 Quality of Bureaucracy and Rule of Law 2004 17

3.1 Timeline of Civil Service Laws in CEE and Central Asia (by Date of Adoption). 47
3.2 Dimensions of Civil Service Systems 48
3.3 Composition of Public Employment 50
3.4 Component Units of the Civil Service 51
3.5 Civil Service Employment and Government Effectiveness Worldwide 55
3.6 Civil Service Employment and Quality of Bureaucracy Worldwide 56
3.7 Civil Service Employment and Quality of Bureaucracy, and Civil Service Em-
ployment and Government Effectiveness in CEE 57
3.8 Number of Civil Servants Per Capita Over Time in Select CEE Countries 58
3.9 Types of Civil Service Systems 65
3.10 Hiring Sequence : 66
3.11 Compression Ratios in Select CEE Countries 76
3.12 Simplistic Model of Merit System Effects 89
3.13 Extended Model of Merit System Effects 91
3.14 Quality of Bureaucracy Over Time in CEE 1985-2005 92

4.1 Quality of Bureaucracy in Romania Over Time 95

4.2 Educational Background and Field of Activity of Romanian Civil Servants . . . . 108
4.3 Factors Important in the Hiring Process 114

5.1 Timeline of Civil Service Laws in CEE (by Date of Adoption) 120
5.2 Dynamics of Patronage Politics 121
5.3 Relationship Between Civil Service Expansion and Economic Growth. 126
5.4 Civil Service Expansion and Economic Growth by Year in the Czech Republic
and Slovakia 127

A.l Civil Service Employment and Government Effectiveness (by Region) 163
A.2 Civil Service Employment and Quality of Bureaucracy (by Region) 165

B.l Distribution of CEE Laws According to Length in Words 171

List of Tables

1.1 Standardized Coefficients from Regression of Regime Type 2004 on Selected In-
dependent Variables 22

3.1 Civil Service Employment Worldwide (as % of Population) 54

3.2 Career vs. Position Civil Service Systems 63
3.3 Civil Service Turnover Rates in Estonia in 1997 72
3.4 Central Government Wages Across Regions in the 1990s 74
3.5 Salary Bonuses 77
3.6 Guarantees Against Arbitrary Dismissal 81
3.7 Publicity Procedure for Vacant Positions 83
3.8 Legal Loopholes 85
3.9 Procedure for Imposing a Disciplinary Measure 87

4.1 Testing Commonly Held Assertions About the Romanian Civil Service System. . 103
4.2 Level of Education in the Romanian Civil Service 108
4.3 Corruption and Conflicts of Interest in the Romanian Local Civil Service . . . .112
4.4 Transparency of Recruitment in the Romanian Local Civil Service 113
4.5 Cross-Regional Findings 116

5.1 Turnover Rates in the Czech Republic, 1994-1997 128

5.2 Turnover Rates in Hungary, 2000-2003 128
5.3 Turnover Rates in Slovakia in 1995, by Level of Education 129
5.4 Number of Governments in Post-Communist Poland. 135
5.5 Characteristics of the Polish Party System 137
5.6 Characteristics of the Hungarian Party System 141
5.7 Number of Governments in Post-Communist Hungary. 141
5.8 Characteristics of the Czech Party System 146
5.9 Number of Governments in Post-Communist Czech Republic 147
5.10 Characteristics of the Slovak Party System 151
5.11 Number of Governments in Post-Communist Slovakia 152

A.l Civil Service Laws in Central and Eastern Europe and the Central Asian Republics 161

B.l Structure of CEE Civil Service Laws According to the First Level Heading . . . . 167
B.2 Principles Governing the Civil Service 172
B.3 The Right to Strike. 183

List of Abbreviations

C E E Central and Eastern Europe

E U European Union

G D P Gross Domestic Product

I C R G International Country Risk Guide

ILO International Labour Organization

N P M New Public Management

O E C D Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

S I G M A Support for Improvement in Government and Management in Central and Eastern

European Countries (a joint initiative of OECD and EU)

U N P A N United Nations Public Administration Network

U S A I D United States Agency for International Development

W B World Bank

Political Parties in the Czech Republic

C S S D Social Democratic Party (Ceska Strana Socialne Demokraticka)

K D U - C S L Christian and Democratic Union - Czechoslovak People's Party (Kfestfanska a

Demokraticka Unie - Ceskoslovenska Strana Lidova)

K S C M Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (Komunisticka Strana Cech a Moravy)

O D A Civic Democratic Alliance (Obcanska Demokraticka Aliance)

O D S Civic Democratic Party (Obcanska Demokraticka Strana)

OF Civic Forum (Obcanske Forum)

S P R - R S C Union for Republic - Republican Party of Czechoslovakia (Sdruzen Pro

Republiku - Republikanska Strana Ceskoslovenska)

Sz Czech Green Party (Strana zelenych)

Political Parties in Hungary

Fidesz Hungarian Civic Union (Magyar Polgari Szovetseg)

F K g P Independent Smallholders Party (Fiiggetlen Kisgazdapart)

K D N P Christian Democratic People's Party (Keresztenydemokrata Neppart)

M D F Hungarian Democratic Forum (Magyar Demokrata Forum)

M S z P Hungarian Socialist Party (Magyar Szocialista Part)

S z D S z Alliance of Free Democrats (Szabad Demokratak Szovetsege)

Political Parties in Poland

A W S Solidarity Electoral Action Alliance (Akcja Wyborcza Solidarnosc)

B B W R Nonpartisan Bloc for Support of Reforms (Bezpartyjny Blok Wspierania Reform)

D U Democratic Union (Unia Demokratyczna)

L P R League of Polish Families (Liga Polskich Rodzin)

P i S Law and Justice Party (Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc)

P O Civil Platform Party (Platforma Obywatelska)

P S L Polish Peasants' Party (Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe)

S d R P Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland (Socjaldemokracja Rzeczypospolitej


S L D Democratic Left Alliance (Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej)

S R P Self-Defence of the Republic of Poland (Samoobrona Rzeczpospolitej Polskiej)

U P Labor Union Party (Unia Pracy)

U S Freedom Union (Unie Svobody)

U W Freedom Union Party (Unia Wolnosci)

Political Parties in Slovakia

A N O Alliance of the New Citizen (Aliancia Noveho Obcana)

D S Democratic Party (Demokraticka Strana)

D U Democratic Union (Demokraticka Unia Slovenska)

K D H Christian Democratic Movement (Krestfanskodemokraticke Hnutie)

H Z D S Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (Hnutie Za Demokraticke Slovensko)

S D K Slovak Democratic Coalition (Slovenska Demokraticka Koalicia)

SDL' Party of the Democratic Left (Strana Demokratickej L'avice)

S D K U Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (Slovenska Demokraticka a Kresf anska


S D S S Social Democratic Party of Slovakia (Socialnodemokraticka Strana Slovenska)

S M K Party of the Hungarian Coalition (Strana Madarskej Koalfcie)

S N S Slovak National Party (Slovenska Narodna Strana)

S O P Party of Civic Understanding (Strana Obcianskeho Porozumenia)

SZ Slovak Green Party (Strana Zelenych)

V P N Public Against Violence (Verejnosf Proti Nasiliu)

ZRS Slovak Workers' Party (Zdruzenie Robotnikov Slovenska)


Nations, like men, do not have wings;

they make their journeys on foot, step by step.

Juan Bautista Alberdi

The third wave of democratization cannot be called a success. The experiences of the past

decade indicate that not all electoral democracies inevitably mature into democratic states.

Many emerging democracies have ended up in an ambiguous predicament as "hybrid regimes,"

combining democratic forms with authoritarian features. Others are threatened by the

weakness of the rule of law. 1 What explains this phenomenon? One of the most intriguing, yet

overlooked, hypotheses is that the very institutions necessary for facilitating effective

governance are undermining the process of democratization. In this study, I look at the state

bureaucracy 2 as an agent that can either facilitate and/or obstruct democratic governance.

The tensions between democratic politics and the state are most apparent in the formerly

communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Almost two decades after

political movements targeted the monolithic state apparatuses in these countries, many state

administrations continue to exhibit high degrees of politicization, 3 threatening the future of

democratic institutions. Despite a series of reforms, enacted to reduce bureaucratic bloat and

increase bureaucratic efficiency, many state administrations have expanded while their

capacities for governance have declined (Ganev 2001). Notwithstanding the repeated

commitments made by governments to reform their civil service systems along rational lines, 4

'For details on "hybrid regimes" see Collier and Levitsky (1997) and (Diamond 2002).
In this work, I use the terms "state administration," "bureaucracy," and "civil service" interchangeably.
I define "politicization" as the extent to which the government, or its collection of ministers, has the
"formal-legal possibility to exercise civil service policy authority, and the extent to which the exercise of this
authority is restricted by formal-legal procedural constraints" (see Meyer-Sahling 2001).
The concept of bureaucratic rationality is primarily associated with Weber's work and I discuss it exten-

the quality of bureaucratic institutions has improved, at best, only marginally.

Why should the quality of bureaucratic institutions be relevant for democracy? Simply

put, the civil service is vital for the rule of law. As the principal enforcer of the law, the

bureaucratic apparatus is the main actor that affects the extent to which rule of law exists in

a country. 5 The rational character of bureaucracy, the specialization of labor, and the

predictability of rules and procedures ensure individual freedoms in a democratic society.

From this perspective, we can think of the bureaucracy as an apparatus that supports

freedom and is pivotal to the quality of the democratic state. 6 Civil service reform, then, is an

attempt to promote good governance. 7

In other words, the quality of bureaucratic institutions determines the extent to which the

rights and liberties provided by laws are respected and realized. In the context of regime type,

the quality of bureaucracy influences both the quality of democracy and the extent to which

democracy is a better form of government than authoritarianism. Conceptually, we anticipate

that institutions in a democratic regime are of higher quality (i.e., more transparent,

professional, accountable, etc.) than those under an authoritarian regime. Empirically,

however, we have very little information to support this hypothesis. Motivated by this gap in

the literature, the leading questions of this study are:

1. What are the characteristics of the civil service systems created in CEE after the

collapse of communism?

2. What explains the variation in institutional performance across countries?

The answer to the first question can be supplied by studying specific elements of

institutional design. My approach is to look empirically at the civil service acts from sixteen

CEE countries in order to identify concrete variables that can describe the civil service. I then

place these variables under a number of conceptual dimensions that are intellectually
sively in Chapter 2. The main features of a rational bureaucracy are meritocratic recruitment and promotion,
independence from political actors, and vertical organization.
The civil service is necessary, but not sufficient, for the rule of law. Rule of law also requires, among other
things, that the laws are public knowledge and are clear in meaning (Carothers 2006).
This study is an extension of previous work on democratization. I use O'Donnell's (1999, 2001) distinc-
tion between democratic regime and democratic state to study whether all democratic regimes evolve into
democratic states. The "regime" refers to the means of access to power (i.e., elections), whereas the "state"
refers to the social relations formalized in a legal system (i.e., rule of law).
Good governance refers to "the traditions and institutions by which authority in a country is exercised
for the common good" (World Bank Institute). In contrast, in a country with poor governance the state is
run for the benefit of a narrow clique or elite and lacks the funds and technical capacity for efficient public
administration (Camerer 2006).

interesting and meaningful: (1) capacity, (2) professionalism, (3) independence from external

influence, (4) transparency, and (5) accountability. I use the Weberian bureaucratic model as

a benchmark of quality. While most contemporary scholars regard bureaucracy as an

inefficient phenomenon, Weber was convinced that bureaucracy is superior to any other

organizational form, and explained its primacy by pointing to the immanent rationality of

bureaucratic organizations.

Using this information, I identify systemic institutional differences that could explain why

some systems function better than others. Prom a policy perspective, my study has significant

implications: if certain institutional variations are more effective than others at increasing

professionalism (for example) within the civil service, then a country reforming its

administrative system need only adopt the "right" institutional model. If, however, differences

in outcome are not explained by institutional idiosyncrasies, the success of the reform process

will depend on other factors than those related just to institutional design.

An analysis of the civil service systems, as created by civil service laws, reveals a set of

institutions that display primarily meritocratic features. However, accounts in the literature

(e.g., Nunberg 1999) indicate that these laws had little empirical impact on the quality of

bureaucratic institutions. These perceptions are confirmed by the lack of improvement in

measures of institutional performance, such as the International Country Risk Guide (ICRG)

indicator for "quality of bureaucracy". If civil service laws are neither necessary nor sufficient

for increasing the quality of the bureaucracy, what factors can explain why administrative

apparatuses function better in certain countries than in others?

The answer to my second research question lies in the relationship between party

competition and the process of modernizing state bureaucracies - a relation which I capture

by looking at the extent of political patronage (politically motivated appointments). In

countries with party systems that display signs of institutionalization (e.g., low fragmentation

and low volatility), there is little political patronage, as party competition is able to constrain

patronage. Using two case studies (Hungary and the Czech Republic), I show that in such

systems the passage of a civil service law reinforces the efforts to depoliticize the civil service

(e.g., Hungary). But the adoption of a civil service law is not a necessary condition for

constraining patronage. Party competition on its own can act as a constraint by limiting the

extent of political patronage, even in the absence of a civil service law (e.g., the Czech


In contrast, countries with underinstitutionalized party systems (e.g., high fragmentation

and high volatility) cannot rely upon party competition to constrain patronage politics. In

such cases, three outcomes are possible: (1) a civil service act is passed to protect the

governing party's (or coalition's) appointees in the administration from future dismissal, in

the event that the present-time opposition bloc wins the right to govern (e.g., Poland's first

civil service law in 1996); (2) a civil service act is adopted to purge, from the civil service, the

employees appointed by the previous government (e.g., Poland's second civil service law in

1998); or (3) a civil service act is not deemed necessary as the party in power faces no credible

opposition, and thus has little incentive to protect its appointees because it thinks it will

never lose its grip on power (e.g., Slovakia pre-1998).

0.1 W h y Should We Study t h e Civil Service in CEE?

The transformation of the civil service during democratic transitions is a largely understudied

topic. While political scientists have a good understanding of the adoption of electoral

institutions (for example) and their effects, there is much less knowledge on how civil service

systems evolve in the transition from one political regime (e.g., authoritarianism) to another

(e.g., democracy).

Most analysts charged with studying democratic transitions focus on the causes of

authoritarian collapse and the emergence of democracy as a preferred outcome. Little

attention is paid to the administrative apparatus and its transformation during the transition

to democracy. One plausible justification for this omission is the assumption that all

democratizing states have well-functioning bureaucracies. Some redesign of state institutions

was implicit in the process of democratization (i.e., creation of electoral and political

institutions), but little to no attention was paid to the necessity of redesigning the state

administration during the period of transition to democracy. 8 To fill this void in the

literature, I focus on the idiosyncratic features of the post-communist civil service systems.

Political scientists rarely study bureaucracies and when they do, they treat them as an

obstacle to development. Bureaucracies are seen as slow, cumbersome, and inefficient.

In O'Donnell's (1999) terminology, the focus was on democratizing the regime, but not the state.

Nevertheless, bureaucracies are important for the evolution of social, political, and economic

processes. In many countries the bureaucracy is the only significant social sector willing to

assume the responsibility for societal transformations. In other countries, the bureaucracy is

the main employer of the professional and technical resources necessary for the

implementation of reforms.

The institutional changes in the policy process are interesting from a historical perspective.

But they are also intriguing because they lead to changes in the quality of governance.

Institutional reform (and civil service reform in this study) may result in better governance.

Refashioned policies (under domestic and/or international pressures) may engineer

institutions that are superior to the extant ones. Alternatively, reform may result in

governments adopting institutions that are sub-optimal. The question, then, is whether

institutional reform produces the most (or at least more) efficient and functional institutions

or whether it results in institutional backsliding. One is inclined to lean towards the first

conclusion, if only for the reason that there is a perception of political development as being a

progressive force. However, the second scenario seems equally plausible, especially when we

consider the pressures exerted by internal and external actors, and the accompanying

demagoguery. Reform, in this light, is not progressive.

But why should we even expect democracies to have better institutions? 9 One reason is

that democratic institutions, in general, are seen as being developmental (they facilitate and

promote economic growth and structural transformation) and socially inclusive (they pursue

social policies that provide equitable entitlements for all citizens). One can argue that the

mere presence of democratic institutions in the post-communist countries is slowly creating

these effects. Nonetheless, a closer look at the administrative systems in these countries

reveals that few attempts have been made either to depoliticize the former communist

bureaucracy or to enhance its professionalism and efficiency.

When is civil service reform more likely to result in bureaucracies that are not

legal-rational? I believe this outcome occurs when the processes of party-building and

state-building are intertwined (occur simultaneously), creating ideal conditions for patronage

politics. Eastern Europe appears to confirm Shefter's thesis: if party-building precedes the
Good institutions are not a prerequisite for democracy. However, in the absence of effective institutions,
as I will argue throughout this study, the democratic regime can be undermined.

consolidation of the state bureaucracy, then party builders will use patronage-based strategies

(Shefter 1994).

If patronage politics is an obstacle to political and economic development, why don't

voters simply "vote the rascals out" (Powell 1989)? Are parties so important for constraining

patronage politics? One can argue that parties are not as vital as they once were for

governing and for guaranteeing democratic accountability. This may be true for some

advanced industrialized democracies with other long-established institutions that ensure

accountability. But scholars who study fledgling democracies increasingly emphasize the need

for strong, well-institutionalized, and well-differentiated political parties. 1 0 Parties structure

competition through their platforms, policy positions, and legislative behavior. If party

positions during a campaign or in the legislature are unstable over time, voters will not enjoy

genuine choices. They may have the opportunity to throw the rascals out, but they may well

end up inadvertently replacing one set of rascals with another. If, on the other hand, parties

develop meaningful labels, which associate them with certain policy positions (much like

brand names for commercial products), voters will have a real choice and clearer standards by

which to judge politicians in future elections. Once individual parties establish identities in

the electorate, an element of horizontal accountability within parties becomes possible, as

party members, and especially leaders, begin monitoring one another's behavior to ensure

that their party's reputation is not sullied, for example, by an individual member's corruption

or erratic behavior. 11

0.2 How Should We Study Civil Service Reform?

Eastern Europe can potentially provide a controlled setting for exploring a phenomenon

evident in many of the world's new democracies: the development of highly politicized

bureaucracies. We can use the opportunity afforded by the confluence of the fall of

communism, the introduction of democratic politics, and the process of re-building the state

in Eastern Europe to analyze the two-fold relationship between democratization and public
For example, Fish 1998, Mainwaring 1998, and Haggard and Kaufman 1994.
The term "horizontal accountability" refers to the control that some state agents exercise over the lawful-
ness of the actions of other such agents (O'Donnell 1998a, 23).

administration reform. On the one hand, democracy cannot be consolidated without a well

functioning state and an operational bureaucracy that is able to implement the decisions of a

democratically elected government (Linz and Stepan 1996). 13 On the other hand,

democratization can bring corruption in the short term by temporarily weakening the state

and loosening social inhibitions, which leads to a state of confusion about standards of

morality in general and promotes antisocial behavior in particular.

This project is composed of two main parts: (1) an in-depth analysis of the civil service

systems created by their corresponding civil service acts (in Chapter 3) and (2) an extensive

analysis on the effect of the nature of party competition on the success of civil service reform

(in Chapter 5). To showcase the differences between the de jure civil service systems and the

de facto institutions, I look at Romanian civil servants' perceptions regarding the public

administration (in Chapter 4).

0.2.1 Research Design - Analysis of Civil Service Systems

What does it mean to say democratizing states are reforming their civil services? Ideally, it

means that actors are creating conditions for a more transparent, accountable, professional,

and independent administrative process. This process takes place through the implementation

of particular policies established in civil service acts. These legislative acts provide valuable

information on the characteristics that make civil services more professional, independent,

transparent, and accountable. But the absence of such elements from civil service laws is

relevant as well, and by looking at the acts comparatively, I can pinpoint their omissions.

In terms of methodology, I collected the civil service laws that have been adopted since the

fall of communism in CEE and constructed an original cross-national dataset that allows me

to ascertain the main characteristics of the civil service systems created in CEE after the

collapse of communism. While the same countries have adopted multiple laws (for details, see

Figure 3.1), I look at only one law per country. In most cases this is the most recent law, a

choice made out of necessity as the most recent laws are the ones that are more easily

accessible. Ideally, I would compare different laws adopted in one country over time, to see

what changes were made to the system. Unfortunately, only the most recent version of these
For other works on the relationship between democracy and public administration reform, see Anusiewicz
et al. 2001, Grzymala-Busse 2007, O'Dwyer 2006, and Painter and Pierre 2005.
Linz and Stepan (1996) refer to the bureaucracy as the fourth arena of post-communist democracies.

laws is available.

In terms of geography, my study is based on the following countries: Albania, Bosnia and

Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania,

Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. These countries

vary significantly in terms of the nature of the communist regime, the level of economic

development, and cultural and religious prevalence. Ideally, this study would include all the

post-communist states in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Unfortunately, while I was able to identify some of the civil service laws for most of these

states, I was unable to obtain them (see Table A.l for a list of the laws, by country). Missing

from the study are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia,

Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Notably, I am not including in

this study the authoritarian republics in Central Asia. This is unfortunate, because a

comparison of the systems in authoritarian states with the ones in democratic countries would

have made this investigation even more valuable. Future research should be focused in that


Several organizations (such as the World Bank and the Political Risk Society) have created

composite indices for "government effectiveness" and "quality of bureaucracy." I use these

measures to evaluate whether the transition to democracy has led to better quality

institutions. To document the transformation of the nomenklatura into a professional and

meritocratic bureaucracy, I use country reports from the World Bank, the Organization for

Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and Support for Improvement in

Government and Management (SIGMA). Data on employment, salaries, and spending come

from case studies, national statistics institutes, and the International Labor Organization

(ILO). For my case study on Romania, I use surveys and reports from the Institute for Public


Taking into account the paucity of information regarding how CEE administrations

function practically, I complement this large-N study with a case study of the Romanian civil

service. I base this discussion on a 2004 survey of almost 1,000 civil servants conducted by the

Institute for Public Politics in Bucharest, Romania ( h t t p : / / w w w . i p p . r o ) .

0.2.2 Research Design Party Competition and Civil Service Reform

In Chapter 5 I analyze the relationship between party competition, political patronage, and

state bureaucracy modernization. Inspired by Shefter's (Shefter 1994) thesis about the

sequence of state-building and party-building, my work confirms that when party-building

precedes the consolidation of state bureaucracies, party builders use patronage-based

strategies to mobilize support. To test the hypothesis that political patronage is less common

in countries with an institutionalized party system, I use a controlled comparison of the Czech

Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. I find that, regardless of whether or not a civil

service law has been adopted, patronage politics is most pervasive in countries with

underinstitutionalized party systems and less widespread in countries with institutionalized

party systems (Figure 5.2 showcases the interplay between party system institutionalization

and political patronage).

The literature on party systems offers several useful measures of party system

institutionalization. To get a better account of the nature of party competition, I look

specifically at fragmentation, volatility, and vote differential. Because of the peculiarities of

party system development in CEE (such as umbrella parties composed of multiple parties

which share very few similarities and which would deflate the measure of fragmentation), I

complement this data with a timeline analysis of the party system in each country.

To capture the extent of patronage politics (the discretionary appointment to civil service

positions by a political party), I look at two indicators: expansion of the state administration

(which is not explained by functional needs) and turnover rates in the public administration

after a change in ruling party/coalition.

0.3 Organizational Summary

The following is a map of the organization of this study. Chapter 1 presents a conceptual and

theoretical framework for studying the relationship between democracy and the rule of law,

with an emphasis on the role of the civil service in strengthening the rule of law. Moving into

the empirical domain, Chapter 2 provides a summary of the evolution of the civil service over

time, as well as the current administrative models. In this chapter, I also present an overview

of the civil service under communism. In light of their high degree of politicization and

ineffectiveness, the need for civil service reform becomes clear. In Chapter 3, I move to the

most interesting aspect of the reform process: an analysis of the civil service acts, the legal

foundation for the reform process. Using detailed information from these laws, I study the

variation in the resulting civil service systems. The question, then, is whether there is a

difference between how these systems are designed de jure and how they are functionally

implemented de facto. An in-depth look at the Romanian case, using a survey of civil

servants, will provide an answer in Chapter 4. Lastly, I consider the question of why some

civil services are more politicized than others. In Chapter 5 I test the impact of party

competition on civil service reform.

Chapter 1

Democracy and Bureaucracy

"Aos mens amigos, tudo; aos mens inimigos, a lei."

("For my friends, whatever they want; for my enemies, the law")

Getulio Vargas

This chapter presents the theoretical logic driving the analysis of the civil service systems

at the core of my research. I first discuss the limitations of the procedural definition of

democracy and argue for an emphasis on quality of institutions in assessing the extent to

which a state is democratic. In particular I examine the role of the bureaucratic apparatus in

securing the rule of law.

1.1 Access to Power vs. Exercise of Power

One of the most interesting (and overlooked) questions in the study of democracy is: Why is

democracy, as a form of government, preferred to authoritarianism? What benefits does a

democratic regime bestow upon its constituents, benefits that are absent in an authoritarian

regime? Prom existing studies we know that democracy is associated with higher levels of

economic development (either because countries become democratic as they reach a certain

level of economic development or because democratic institutions foster economic

development). We also know that citizens enjoy more rights and liberties in a democracy than

under an authoritarian regime, as the recognition of core rights and liberties is intrinsic to

democracy. Nonetheless, we know little about how democratic institutions compare to their

authoritarian counterparts in terms of quality. In other words: Do democracies have better

quality institutions?

In this study I focus on the bureaucracy because the quality of bureaucratic institutions

determines the extent to which rights and liberties provided by laws are respected and

realized. What this ultimately means is that the quality of bureaucracy will influence the

extent to which democracy is a better form of government than authoritarianism, in which

such rights and liberties are either formally acknowledged and not realized, or not even


What does it mean to say institutions are better? It is difficult to answer such a question

in the abstract. In the case of the bureaucracy, a better quality institution is one that displays

elements of impartiality, professionalism, and independence from political interference, among

other things. Chapter 2 elaborates on the topic of better quality bureaucracies by reviewing

Weber's legal-rational model.

Why has there been limited research on the quality of democratic institutions? Mazzuca

(2007) believes that this omission is explained by an emphasis in the literature only on certain

political procedures, and specifically on those procedures related to access to state power.

The interest in procedures regarding access to power in different political settings is one of

the most important common denominators in the field of comparative regime analysis.

Despite terminological variations and differences in emphasis, following Schumpeter's (1947)

original definition, the concepts developed by regime analysts seek to describe the diverse

forms of access to state power across countries and over time. Within this procedural

approach to the study of politics, minimalist definitions of democracy (Huntington 1991,

Przeworski et al. 1996, Schumpeter 1947) have defined democracy primarily in terms of

elections, adding only as corollary conditions the freedoms and guarantees necessary for the

conduct of free and fair elections. Comprehensive views on democracy stand in contrast to

these "minimalist" definitions. For instance, Dahl (1971) introduces the concept of polyarchy

to emphasize the necessity of including rights and freedoms in the concept of democracy,

rights and freedoms that have at least the same weight as the character of elections. 1

An important shift of focus occurred with O'Donnell's work on Latin America. Beginning

in the mid-1990s Latin America scholars started researching problems related to the exercise

of power: institutionalization of clientelistic practices, political corruption in the national and

local administration, and the tendency of elected authorities to circumvent administrative

Dahl's definition of polyarchy includes several requirements: "1. freedom to form and join organizations;
2. freedom of expression; 3. right to vote; 4. eligibility for public office; 5. right of political leaders to compete
for support [...] and votes; 6. alternative source of information; 7. free and fair elections; 8. institutions for
making government policies depend on votes and other expressions of preference." (1971, 3).

controls. While O'Donnell's (1999, 2001) distinction between democratic state and a

democratic regime was not new, 2 it had the merit of shifting the attention from democracy as

electoral competition to quality of democracy and quality of institutions. 3

O'Donnell's differentiation between democratic regime and democratic state helps explain

the distinction between access to and exercise of power. By definition, democratic regimes are

understood to have "the patterns, formal or informal and explicit or implicit, that determine

the channels of access to principal governmental positions; the characteristics of the actors

who are admitted and excluded from such access; and the resources and strategies that they

are allowed to use for gaining access" (O'Donnell 2001, 14). Therefore, the democratic regime

refers to the process through which political actors occupy the highest positions in the state,

specifically by competing in free and fair elections (i.e., procedures related to the access to

political power). In contrast, the democratic state refers to "aspects of legal theory, insofar as

the legal system enacts and backs fundamental aspects of both agency and democracy"

(O'Donnell 2001, 8). Being a state implies a set of social relations, which are formalized in a

legal system. But most importantly, a democratic state implies the rule of law. A democratic

state depends on having legality as a universalistic value. Being a democratic regime is a

necessary condition for being a democratic state, but it is not a sufficient condition.

It is important to differentiate between the form of access to power and the form of

exercise of power as procedural aspects of the political process because many of the

democratic transitions that occurred in the past thirty years are characterized by a process of

change primarily in the institutions of access to political power. Therefore, the distinction

between democratic state and democratic regime is useful when thinking about democracy as

a concept that goes beyond the existence of a set of institutions (e.g., elections) and allows for

a better assessment of the different types of democracy that have emerged.

Taking a step further, the institutional changes that occur in electoral democracies

(regimes that meet the procedural minimum of having free, fair, and competitive elections)

and are designed to create a democratic state, are best understood as part of a process of

bureaucratization - a movement away from patrimonial institutions towards rational-legal

Skogpol refers to the necessity of a strong state in her 1979 work on social revolutions.
In the Latin American context, O'Donnell considers that there are two major threats to the quality of
democracy: (1) the pervasiveness of clientelistic practices and political corruption; and (2) the tendency of
elected presidents to circumvent controls of other branches of the government.

organizations. While democratization is a process that involves the institutions related to

access to power, bureaucratization is a process of transforming the institutions involved in the

exercise of power.

The state's failure to deliver basic public services - an essential attribute of Weber's

bureaucracy - and to enforce citizens' rights - at the center of O'Donnell's concerns - are

direct consequences of patrimonialism. Given that in a patrimonial administration political

authorities use appointments to lower ranking positions as a source of patronage, officials in

charge of public services normally lack the "technical training and occupational specialization"

that characterize a bureaucratic administration (Weber 1968, 1028-1029). Since a majority of

state resources is consumed in particularistic exchanges with powerful actors in the society, a

patrimonial administration is antagonistic to a fair provision of public services.

In the next section I develop the link between the quality of bureaucratic institutions and

democracy by bringing in an additional concept: rule of law. In this context it will become

clear why poor institutional quality can undermine the democratic regime itself.

1.2 Explaining t h e Role of Bureaucracy in a Democratic State

T h r o u g h the Rule of Law

1.2.1 Defining R u l e of Law

How do we define the rule of law? In a state governed by rule of law, the laws, and not some

individuals or groups, define appropriate behavior and no one is above the law (Esquith 1999,

335). 4 For Weingast (1997, 245) rule of law represents a "set of stable political rules and

rights applied impartially to all citizens," and a state ruled by the law is defined as a society

living under universal laws, not under discretionary political power. Consequently, rule of law

implies the protection of individual private rights through a universalistic application of the


We can distinguish between a minimalist and a comprehensive understanding of the rule of

law. From a minimalist perspective, the rule of law means that whatever the law is, it must

be applied in a universal, non-discriminatory way by the relevant public institutions to all

Along the same lines, Ingram (1985) considers the rule of law as a system of rules abiding general stan-
dards and in which nobody is above the law.

similar cases. A comprehensive definition of the rule of law takes into account the character of

the laws themselves. In a democracy individuals, as legal persons, are carriers of rights and

obligations derived from the law. Moreover, in manifold social and political interactions

people are presumed to be equally autonomous and responsible in these interactions

(O'Donnell 1998b). The formal provisions of this equality lay the groundwork for future

equalization, which takes place in the process of exercising our rights. Thus, in the broader

context, the rule of law refers to the universal, non-arbitrary application of inclusive and

non-discriminatory laws. In other words, public officials must act secundum legem and the

laws themselves should not be flawed.

1.2.2 Rule of Law and Democratic State

The democratic conception of the rule of law implies the universalistic application of the law

based on a belief in the supremacy of the law, individual freedom, and equality of treatment. 5

Rule of law is essential to democracy for various reasons. First, it enforces accountability: no

governmental official or officeholder is above the law and that in case of abuse of the law there

will be no impunity for them. 6 Second, rule of law offers what Rawls calls justice as regularity

and fairness: it brings predictability to human behavior, providing certainty regarding what

the law asks from citizens and the effects its application will have on the individual (Rawls

1971, 237) 7 Therefore, order through rule of law confers a sense of predictability to actions.

Lastly, rule of law implies that equality among citizens, a prerequisite essential for the

effectiveness of individual rights, is secured by democratic laws. As we can see in Figure 1.1,

democratic countries are associated with stronger rule of law.

Predictability and equality are essential determinants of the quality of democracy. Citizens

in democratic countries are beneficiaries of a set of civil and political rights. However, in some

countries these freedoms are supported by a respect for the supremacy of the law, while in

other countries civil and political rights are infringed. These differences have a great bearing

on the overall quality of democracy. In O'Donnell's terms, the state is more democratic when
Linz and Stepan argue that the rule of law can be seen as a prerequisite of a consolidated democracy
(1996, 10).
In this sense, the state must install provisions to prevent those who make and administer the law from
using their positions for their own advantage.
Rule of law is formal justice, "the regular and impartial administration of public rules" by the legal sys-
tem. For Rawls, "a legal system is a coercive order of public rules addressed to rational persons for the pur-
pose of regulating and providing the framework for social cooperation" (1971, 235).

Figure 1.1. R e g i m e T y p e and Rule of Law 2004.
Sources: World Bank and Polity IV. 'Rule of Law' spans from -2.5 to 2.5, with higher values
indicating a stronger rule of law. The 'Regime Type' measure runs from -10 to 10, with -10
indicating a fully authoritarian regime and 10 a fully democratic regime. N=126.




d 01
3 -.5-



-10 -5 0 10
Regime Type

citizens axe treated equally by its institutions and are protected against any arbitrariness of
the law.
In the absence of rule of law, the state itself goes through a crisis. On the one hand, the
various forms of discrimination and disparity in the application of the law will create a
general sentiment of distrust in the democratic institutions, weakening the prospects of
consolidating democracy. On the other hand, in the absence of a "behavioral, legal, and
normative distinction between public and private" (O'Donnell 1999, 181), we can expect the
development of a patronage-based, clientelistic system that in the end will undermine the
democratic regime. This gap between formal rules and actual behavior poses a serious threat
to the formal institutions of the regime.

1.2.3 Role of Bureaucracy in Strengthening t h e Rule of Law

Why is the bureaucracy an essential element of the rule of law?8 Rule of law is strengthened
Another element crucial to the rule of law is the judicial system. In every democracy civil, political, and
social rights are backed by the legal system, which is represented by courts. In addition to bureaucracy, the
legal system ensures the supremacy of the law over a territory. Moreover, an independent, impartial and effec-
tive judiciary holds a central role in the realization of an accountable government. Judicial independence is not

Figure 1.2. Quality of Bureaucracy and R u l e of Law 2004.
Sources: World Bank and ICRG. 'Rule of Law' spans from -2.5 to 2.5, with higher values indicating
a stronger rule of law. 'Quality of Bureaucracy' takes values from 0 to 4, with higher values
indicating a more professional and meritocratic organization. N=139.

Quality of Bureaucracy

in a system that holds public officials accountable and ensures not only that the law is applied

properly, but also that it will be applied in the same manner in the future, in equivalent cases

(O'Donnell 1998a). Structural factors related to bureaucratic capacity, professionalism,

accountability, and independence account for the extent to which such a non-discretionary

environment is created. Figure 1.2, shows that there is a strong positive correlation between

the quality of bureaucracy and the rule of law.

For example, the blurring of the distinction between private and public spheres will hinder

accountability and make particularism - manifested as bureaucratic arbitrariness in the

application of the law - the norm. A state with an unprofessional, nepotistic, and patrimonial

bureaucracy lacks the rule of law and is ineffective as a democratic state. According to

Weber, "the genuine patrimonial office differs from the bureaucratic one" in that the former

"lacks the bureaucratic separation of the 'private' and the 'official' sphere." In more concrete,
designed to benefit the individual citizen, but to protect citizens (Pope 2000). Judiciary weakness manifests
itself through the failure of a court's decisions to be implemented, the low effectiveness of courts that results
in long delays in case processing, and the shortage of skilled and knowledgeable personnel. However, judicial
corruption represents the "use of public authority for the private benefit of court personnel when this use un-
dermines the rules and procedures to be applied in the provision of court services" (Buscaglia 2001, 135). The
judicial system is not the object of this study.

organizational terms, the lack of separation between public resources and private property

means that under patrimonialism "office is treated like a benefice, as purely personal affair of

the ruler, and political power can be exploited by means of contributions and fees" (Weber

1968, 1028). The proliferation of favors and personal privileges is the common element of the

informal institutions mentioned by O'Donnell, ranging from clientelism to political corruption.

The state has specific functions and the civil service plays an important role in carrying

out these functions. In a democratic society the state has two main roles. 9 First, it provides

fair and equal conditions and guarantees for the personal rights of individuals, based on a

range of well-accepted fundamental human rights. Second, it provides a reliable and

predictable environment for the economic activities of individuals and legal entities. If indeed

government officials weave the future with the help of knowledge, as Plato contends in The

Statesman, bureaucracies must be professional, independent and accountable bodies.

But how can the bureaucracy be the answer to governance problems when it is generally

perceived as being the cause of many societal evils? 10 For example, Tullock (1965) sees

bureaucracies as sources of dilatory procedures, clumsiness, routine; and procedural stalemate

and bureaucrats as blocking agents and agents of economic inefficiency. Moreover,

bureaucracies are sometimes perceived as threats to civil and political freedoms (see Preston

1987 for a detailed discussion on the relationship between bureaucracy and freedom).

This view of bureaucracy is due to a notion of freedom quite different from that in the

democratic context. Freedom is not the absence of constraints, but rather the ability to

choose freely and exercise our rights, benefiting from equal treatment. The central features of

a modern bureaucracy - hierarchy, a technical division of labor, fixed jurisdictions, and formal

rules (Weber 1947) - ensure the respect of democratic rights and freedoms. For Preston, "our

choices are free precisely because they are made within a bureaucratic context, and our

freedom can only be enhanced if the logic of bureaucracy is extended and more rigorously

followed" (1987, 774).

The core responsibilities of the state are those that can be translated into functions that nobody but the
state has sufficient legitimacy to carry out in democratic societies. This resembles what in the French adminis-
trative tradition is known as "responsabilites regaliennes," a direct linkage to the exercise of public power. In
some European Union states there is a trend to shifting responsibilities for "non-core" activities of the state
(and the nature and extent of the so-called "non-core" activities varies from country to country) either to-
wards the private sector by means of privatization or contracting out or down to sub-national governments via
decentralization processes (Cardona 2000).
To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, bureaucracy is not seen as the answer to the problem, but as the problem.

Bureaucracy is certainly susceptible to a number of ailments: inefficiency, multiplication of

administrative functions, 'red tape,' impersonal officials working according to a fixed routine,

etc. Such institutional degradation can take place both under an authoritarian regime and

under a democratic regime. However, the main stigma of bureaucracies in democratic regimes,

inefficiency - defined as delays in implementing policies - has only a limited negative impact

on the exercise of freedoms. A bureaucracy, even an inefficient one, can provide greater

opportunities for freedom than a bureaucratic institution that is characterized by uncertainty

in the application of the law. A modern bureaucracy (see Chapter 2 for a definition of modern

bureaucracy) is a bedrock element for the rule of law, ensuring that the relationship between

the state and its citizens is based on stable norms and expectations.

1.2.4 Democratizing Effects of the Bureaucracy

Bureaucracy has survived because of its strengths: the development of the classic bureaucratic

model not only represented real administrative and managerial progress in most instances,

but it embodied and advanced several significant democratic ideals (Wriston 1980). Bennis

noted that the "bureaucratic 'machine model' Weber outlined was developed as a reaction

against the personal subjugation, nepotism, cruelty, emotional vicissitudes, and capricious

judgement that passed for managerial practices in the early days of the industrial revolution"

(1965, 31). Similarly, Bendix argued that "bureaucracy developed with the support of

democratic movements that demanded equality before the law and legal guarantees against

arbitrariness in judicial and administrative decisions" (1960, 430).

At a general level, the emergence of a merit bureaucracy strengthens the viability of the

constitutional government. Popular rule is characterized by volatility; partnerships are

unstable especially during electoral cycles. The public administration offers stability in the

interpretation and application of rules. Historically the civil servant evolved from being an

employee of the ruler to being an employee of the state. Concomitantly the bureaucracy

evolved from personal apparatus of the ruler to impersonal body with unmatchable

administrative expertise.

"The bureaucracy, looking toward its enduring tasks and gradually gaining an
intimate familiarity with the realities surrounding them, became an objectifying
influence in public affairs. It grew into a storehouse of information. It projected
policy in terms of demonstrable cause-and-effect relationships, thus erecting

barriers to both despotic fiat and mere off-the-cuff judgement" (Marx 1963, 64).

In this sense the bureaucracy operates as a source and manifestation of rationality and the

workings of the administrative system help to legitimize governmental authority.

The weakness of the institutional system is usually doubled by a low public legal

conscience. The weak implementation of laws undermines citizens' confidence in using the law

to resist any act of corruption. 11 But most importantly, a weak administrative system implies

discretion in the application of the law on the part of those who are charged with

administering the law. In this situation, the use of law is dependent on an individual's will

and exercise of power. Hence, the idea of laws as independent rules - crucial to the rule of law

- is implicitly destroyed, "for the concept of a rule is not that of a standard for action which

we may take up or leave as suits us" (Ingram 1985, 361). In this situation, the quality of

democracy will be largely dependent on the gap between the existence and employment of the

law. 12

For example, the classic bureaucratic model has also had a significant "democratizing"

effect in advancing certain minority interests and in operationalizing certain fundamental

principles, such as representation, democratic decision-making, and equality (Rourke 1976).

The United States federal bureaucracy is, for instance, significantly more representative of the

United States population than is the Congress, and it is the commitment of bureaucracy to

democratic decision-making - and the process of consultation, negotiation, and

accommodation - that is significantly responsible for the slowness with which it moves

(Berkeley 1971). The key democratic concept of equality before the law is similarly embodied

in bureaucracy's commitment to impartiality.

The conclusion is inescapable: despite its weaknesses, the emergence of bureaucracy has

been central to achieving and securing a democratic system. 13 As a protection against

corruption and the willful misuse of power, the impersonal and inflexible rules and regulations
Levin and Satarov (2000) analyze the effects of a weak judiciary in the Russian context and conclude that
a weak judiciary makes citizens perceive state officials as having legal immunity. As a consequence, citizens are
less likely to resist "grassroots corruption." Moreover, corruption in Russia has become a routine element of
everyday life.
For a legal system to enforce the rule of law, it must commit to a universal system of rules and accept
that all cases and individuals should be treated equally. The same law has to be applied to all relevant cases
and individuals and failure to do so will detract from the idea of the rule of law.
In that respect, Rohrschneider (2005) argues that the public's perceptions of democratic institutions, such
as the parliament, are shaped by how well arbitrating institutions - bureaucracies and judiciaries - administer
policies and adjudicate conflicts.

of bureaucracy have been a relief (Wriston 1980). If democratic states are to endure, uphold

law-based rule, safeguard human rights, and offer opportunities for development, such states

must govern not only democratically, but effectively as well. "Good governance" is widely

cited as a prerequisite for international aid or as a goal of governments. For example, at the

2005 United Nations World Summit, the 191 member states reaffirmed their commitment for

the eight Millennium Development Goals regarding the promotion of democracy, human

rights, good governance (emphasis added), and improved global security. 14

Finally, in the literature, authors have looked at the characteristics of the bureaucracy and

the legal system primarily with respect to economic development (Buscaglia 2001 ; 15 Johnson

1982; Knack 1998; Knack and Keefer 1995; Mauro 1995; Rauch and Evans 2000). They

conclude that a patrimonial bureaucracy is an impediment to economic growth. 16 Departing

from this traditional approach, my research contributes to the literature on democratization

by emphasizing the importance of the nature of bureaucracy to the democraticness of the


1.2.5 Large-N Analysis on the Relationship B e t w e e n Democracy and Rule

of Law

One of the variables political scientists have employed in explaining the type of regime

(authoritarian or democratic) a country has is the level of economic development. Little

attention has been paid to the rule of law as an explanatory variable for regime type. Figure

1.1 shows that there is a positive relationship between the strength of rule of law and the type

of regime characterizing a country, i.e., countries with a stronger rule of law are more likely to

be democracies. But we do not know in which direction the causal arrow points: Does

democracy lead to a strong rule of law, or does a stronger rule of law pave the way toward a

democratic regime?

It is very difficult to answer this question because of the scarcity of data. The only
Good governance "relates to effective problem solving, decision making or the efficient allocation and
management of public resources" (Coston 1998, 481). Conversely, "poor governance" entails corruption, unpre-
dictability of legal frameworks and their inconsistent implementation, and non- participatory decision-making.
Buscaglia (2001) suggests that judicial corruption hampers economic development by undermining the
stability and predictability in the interpretation and enforcement of the law.
"For a country that starts with weak institutions - low levels of democracy and rule of law - an increase
in democracy is less important than an expansion of the rule of law as a stimulus for economic growth and
investment [...] [Consequently] even if democracy is the principal objective in the long run, the best way to
accomplish it may be to encourage the rule of law in the short run" (Barro 1991, 410).

Table 1.1. Standardized Coefficients from Regression of R e g i m e T y p e 2004
on Selected I n d e p e n d e n t Variables
Note: Significance signs are * for p<0.05; ** for p<0.01; and *** for p<0.001.

Independent Variable Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4

Rule of Law 2004 3.5988*** 2.8363***
(0.977) (0.5 J 90)

Rule of Law 1996 2.6732*** 3.4994***

(0.5088) (0.9710)

GDP per Capita 2004 -0.0001 -0.0001

(in $2000 constant) (0.0000) (0.0000)

Growth in GDP per Capita -0.0051 -0.0154

(1996-2004) (0.0189) (0.0189)

Adjusted R 2 018 CU8 (U9 018

Number of countries 122 119 119 122

measure of rule of law available starts in 1996 and is part of the World Bank's Governance

Indicators (the data are available at h t t p : / / w w w . g o v i n d i c a t o r s . o r g ) . I use this measure in

a linear regression analysis as an explanatory variable for the type of regime a country had in

2004. To measure regime type I use the Polity IV data. The advantage of using the Polity

data over Freedom House is that Polity focuses primarily on aspects related to the process of

access to power, e.g., elections. By contrast, the Freedom House data incorporate aspects

related to the rule of law. I also use GDP per capita as an explanatory variable for regime

type. The data come from the World Bank's World Development Indicators.

Table 1.1 shows the four models used to fit the data. The low R 2 values indicate that the

models do not explain much of the variance in the data. However, it is important to note that

rule of law has positive coefficients and is significant in all four models, whereas GDP per

capita is not significant. For example, the strength of the rule of law for a country in 1996 has

a positive impact on the regime type of that same country in 2004. At the same time neither

the growth in GDP per capita between 1996 and 2004, nor the level of GDP per capita in

2004 are good indicators of regime type.

1.3 Bureaucratization and Party System Characteristics
The rule of law concept is suddenly everywhere, "a venerable part of Western political

philosophy enjoying a new run as rising imperative of the era of globalization" (Carothers

1998, 95). Its status has risen to that of a panacea for the numerous and varied ills of

countries transitioning to democracy, such as poorly performing institutions and citizen

skepticism towards the government. Western observers believe that enhancing the rule of law

will allow states to move beyond the first stage of political and economic reform to consolidate

both democracy and market economies and often urge countries to adopt policies intended to

strengthen the rule of law.

The rule of law promises to move countries past the first, easy phase of political and

economic liberalization to a deeper level of reform. But that is a promise hard to fulfill. As

countries in CEE discovered, the process of rewriting constitutions, laws, and regulations is

relatively painless. By comparison, far-reaching institutional reform is arduous and slow.

Public servants must be retrained, and institutions must be restructured. Citizens also must

be brought into the process if conceptions of law and justice are to be truly transformed.

The primary obstacles to such reforms are not technical or financial (though these are, of

course, relevant), but political and human. Reforms orchestrated to strengthen the rule of law

will succeed only if they confront the fundamental problem of leaders who refuse to be ruled

by the law. Respect for the law cannot easily take root in a system rife with corruption.

Entrenched elites cede their traditional impunity only under great pressure. Bureaucratic

rationalization would require them to support reforms that would create competing centers of

authority beyond their control.

A first step in strengthening the rule of law is the adoption of a civil service act that

provides for concrete ways to strengthen bureaucratic institutions and makes them more

efficient, transparent, independent, and accountable. The adoption of such a law is not

random, however. The level of institutionalization 17 of the party system as well as the balance

of forces between the opposition and the government coalitions help explain the timing of the

reform process. I discuss the effect of party system characteristics on bureaucratic reform in

Chapter 5.

In an institutionalized party system the competition takes place between established, programmatically
distinct, and relatively fixed parties, which have medium to long time horizons (Mainwaring 1998).

Chapter 2

Models of Civil Service Systems

Following the heady days when one communist regime after another collapsed in Central and

Eastern Europe (CEE), international support - from the World Bank, International Monetary

Fund (IMF), and other sources - centered on guiding the countries in the region in their

journey toward the free market. These efforts focused primarily on macroeconomic

stabilization and privatization. However, the first attempts at implementing the economic

reform agenda revealed the importance of state bureaucracy: reforms that were theoretically

sound failed in practice because of deficiencies in implementation. Consequently, the attention

of international actors turned to public administration questions: How could the state

apparatus be organized to facilitate the transition process? What organizational features

would need to be altered, and how?

In addition to the challenges of coordinating changes on multiple fronts (political,

economic, and administrative), reformers needed to take into consideration the fact that civil

service reform in CEE was not just a case of state creation upon the ruins of communist

bureaucracies (if state creation implies a tabula rasa) (see Derlien and Szablowski 1993 for a

discussion on the parallel reform processes). Each country had firmly in place institutions and

behaviors that could not be ruptured or adapted overnight. Unlike countries that must

rebuild classical administrations that have collapsed or new nations that are forced to erect

governments from scratch, CEE countries are crafting a set of institutions that combine

aspects of pre-communist and communist legacies with elements borrowed from abroad,

compounded with indigenous innovations developed in response to the exigencies of

democratic transition (Nunberg 1999). This is why it is important to outline the main

features of the communist administrations in this chapter.

Throughout this study I make numerous references to the Weberian legal-rational

bureaucracy as a model for administrative organizations. This is the best place to present

Weber's ideas on state administration. Whereas in colloquial terms 'bureaucratization' has a

pejorative connotation, Weber viewed this process as an inherent consequence of development,

and of the rationalization of society. As CEE societies are developing (politically and

economically), the natural result, from a Weberian perspective, is that they will develop

legal-rational bureaucracies.

The Weberian approach to administrative development has come under attack in the 1970s

and 1980s - criticisms clustered into the New Public Management (NPM) approach (see

Aucoin 1990; Hood 1996; Pollitt 1990). The main tenet of NPM is that civil service systems

are about efficiency and effective management, resembling the private sector. Hence, private

sector management objectives and practices should be applied in the public sector (Ingraham

1996). NPM was specific to developed democracies (confined to Organization for Economic

Co-operation and Development - OECD- member states) and it is rarely discussed in relation

to civil service systems that lack basic Weberian features. In the ensuing discussion, I will

present NPM's main differences when compared to the Weberian approach.

This chapter starts with a short review of the historical evolution of civil service systems.

This overview puts into context the developmental stage of current administrations. I then

present the main features of the Weberian and NPM approaches. Using the scarce

information available, I outline the idiosyncrasies of the communist administrative system.

The chapter ends with a brief assessment of the two distinctive perspectives on administrative

reform in CEE: modernization and Europeanization.

2.1 Historical Evolution of the Civil Service

Throughout the world, governments play a crucial role in the production and delivery of

public services. The extent to which the government is involved in society may vary from

country to country, but all countries share one common feature: negative public attitudes

towards "bureaucrats." For a long time, policy preparation and planning was the domain of a

small number of higher functionaries (Raadschelders and Rutgers 1996). In the second half of

the twentieth century their numbers surged, as their role shifted from mere execution of

policies to policy-planning. This class of civil servants finds itself subject to criticism as part

of a more general disapproval of the size of government. One may wonder how and why the

civil service developed in this way and if all recent condemnations are justified.

I shall follow Raadschelders and Rutgers's (1996) typology on the evolution of civil service

systems. They identify five phases of development:

1. Civil servants as personal servants

2. Civil servants as state servants

3. Civil servants as public servants

4. Civil service as protected service

5. Civil service as professional service

2.1.1 Phase 1: Civil Servants as Personal Servants

The tale of the civil servant begins in the Middle Ages with the emergence of the first

nation-states. Originally civil servants represented one of the three types of servants to the

monarch: court, army, and clerical or civil servants (Raadschelders and Rutgers 1996, 71).

Civil servants were a minority within the royal household (largely outnumbered by the court -

employees charged with maintaining the royal household - and the army) and provided

strictly personal, clerical, or scribal services.

Berman (1983) and Gladden (1972) credit the papacy with the creation of the first "civil

service system." The expansion of papal power, in the years between 1050-1150, conflicted

with the territorial expansion of secular lords. To successfully wield authority, the Roman

Church developed a "highly efficient bureaucracy of specialists in various fields" (Berman

1983, 208). The papal chancery, papal exchequer (or Apostolic Chamber), and the papal court

(Consistory) are regarded as the first modern government departments. Although changes in

a Europe dominated by customary law would prove to be slow, some early examples of secular

government appeared in 1066 when William the Conquerer created the first known chancery. 1

During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, kings established their own specialized

departments in order to strengthen their monarchical claims for authority over the use of
Gratian's Concordance of Discordant Canons promoted principles characteristic to modern administra-
tions. Gratian prescribed that the church should be organized in territorial units administered by clerici as
subordinates of the central authority. He stated that a clerk could make a career only based on merit and not
on seniority and that he could be appointed only after passing a test of capability. These were the elements of
a legal bureaucratic structure created by the church (Berman 1983, 213).

force (Raadschelders and Rutgers 1996, 72). With the advent of universities, rulers recruited

more and more laymen instead of clergymen. This is also the period during which

nation-states were born. As the ruler of one of the first states recognized internationally,

Frederick II of Sicily decreed the Constitution of Melfi, considered the "birth certificate of

modern bureaucracy" (Jacoby 1973, 21).

However, there are several significant differences between the modern civil servant and the

civil servant of the Middle Ages. The latter was much more similar to a household servant,

working on behalf of the king. There was no distinction between the public and private

realms, and policy planning was restricted to the royal council and parliaments.

2.1.2 Phase 2: Civil Servants as State Servants

This phase in the development of the civil service system is characterized by a process of

formalization in the administration of state issues. In the course of the fifteenth and sixteenth

centuries, secular lords managed to establish their monopoly over the use of force and the

imposition of taxes. In order to maintain their monopoly, a further differentiation of functions

was required. Secretaries were organized in formal government departments, while councils

developed into formal politico-administrative bodies. Moreover, the monarch became a

functionary to the monarchy, not allowed to undermine its function (Raadschelders and

Rutgers 1996, 74). This represented a shift in political ideology: the monarchy was not

designed for the betterment of a person (or of a limited group of persons); instead, it was

regarded as an instrument to provide public welfare.

In the seventeenth century, while the public and private spheres continued to be

inseparable, the concept of "ideal" higher functionary was put forth for the first time. Martin

Luther advocated a separation of office and officer. The higher functionary was to be loyal

and neutral, well educated and impartial (Gladden 1972). Concomitantly, the centralization

of government strengthened, which necessitated a more efficient taxation system as well as a

standing army.

Throughout Europe, central governments started relying more and more on civil servants

to represent their interests in the administrative territories. These civil servants bore different

names: "intendants" (later "prefects") in France and Landrate in Prussia, and they all

signaled a transfer of the monopoly on power from one person to a group of persons. In

Prance a bureaucratic elite developed separately from the aristocracy, recruited from among

the bourgeoisie (Barker 1945).

With the rise of mercantilism and the state's focus on the economy, attributes such as

judicial knowledge and writing ability were no longer sufficient for becoming or remaining a

civil servant. States started developing pre-entry training as well as formal application and

recruitment procedures (see Raadschelders 1998 and 2003 for a discussion on the

Netherlands). While historians noted the professionalization of the civil service (most notably

in the fields of training and recruitment), they also pointed out that patronage and corruption

were common, government departments were not specialized, and public functionaries lacked

any job guarantees (Raadschelders and Rutgers 1996, 77).

In conclusion, three important factors explain why rulers needed an efficient bureaucracy

and started paying more attention to the structure and functioning of their administrative

apparatuses: (1) territorial expansion of states, (2) the state becoming the main actor in

international relations (after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648), and (3) the advent of

absolutism in the fifteenth century and of mercantilism in the seventeenth century. All these

factors accentuated the need for a professional state apparatus.

2.1.3 P h a s e 3: Civil Servants as Public Servants

The process of specialization and differentiation in governmental tasks that took place in the

eighteenth and nineteenth centuries resulted in a split between the political and

administrative facets of governing. Two developments led to this result: (1) the legislative

branch became the prerogative of political officials, while the execution of tasks was left to

administrative personnel; and (2) as the state started performing more and more roles in the

society, more nonpolitical functionaries were hired to deal with the extra work. The

differentiation between politics and administration provided the foundation upon which a

modern civil service could develop.

During this time the public officer came to be seen not as an officeholder but as an

employee of the state (Church 1981). Moreover, the distinction between higher and lower

functionaries became more visible, as tasks in the field of policy planning and preparation

necessitated better-trained personnel. "Slowly and decisively, preference was given to so-called

ministerial departments in which a politically appointed minister supervised the business of a

complete department" (Raadschelders and Rutgers 1996, 81).

Nevertheless, the public service was still plagued with patronage (Gladden 1972). Several

developments helped to bring the administrative system closer to its present form: (1) a

ranking system was introduced, allowing opportunities for promotion; (2) officials were given

a regular salary and guaranteed a pension, which strengthened their loyalty to the state; and

(3) hierarchy and written procedures became intrinsic to the system. 2

2.1.4 Phase 4: Civil Service as Protected Service

The developments listed by Gladden (1972) gradually led to the creation of the 'civil service.'

Additionally, the adoption of regulations regarding salary systems, pensions, examinations,

and training programs finalized the development of an administration that was both public

and subordinate to, but separate from, politics. For example, in the United States the Hatch

Acts of 1939 and 1940 imposed limitations on federal, state, and municipal employees and on

the extent to which they could participate in partisan politics. However, only after 1945 did

the civil service acquire full legal protection. In Great Britain civil servants enjoyed de facto

job security, but tenure was not guaranteed until the Crown Proceeding Act of 1947 (Chester

1981). In Prance the Civil Service Act was passed in 1946, establishing legal protections for

the civil service (Church 1981).

Raadschelders and Rutgers (1996) point to the growing government intervention in society

to explain the professionalization of the civil service. During this period, the public demanded

more public services, especially in light of the social turmoil caused by industrialization.

Governments started offering new public services (such as health care and electricity), which

required agencies that were technical in nature. With the growth of the size of government,

the civil servants became more aware of their status and demanded protections and


2.1.5 Phase 5: Civil Service as Professional Service

The main development in this phase comprises the continuation of the processes of
Raadschelders and Rutgers (1996, 81-82) note that the system in place in the United States differed sig-
nificantly from the European ones. While the European systems were centered on 'career staffing,' the United
States system used short-term 'program' staffing, with a rotation in office occurring after each election. In the
second half of the nineteenth century the United States moved from a party- centered system to a bureaucratic
authority system, political neutrality becoming idiosyncratic to the civil service.

professionalization and specialization. Authors notice two different paths. In Prance,

Germany, and the United States part of the civil service developed into a highly specialized

corps directly attached to the government. Such civil servants are loyal to the government in

power and often return to purely administrative jobs at the end of the politicians' terms. In

Great Britain and the Netherlands, on the other hand, the civil service developed into a

neutral and loyal body of generalists that remains in office when a new government is sworn

in (Raadschelders and Rutgers 1996, 86-87).

Civil service acts have become the norm, and the focus is on increasing performance and

decreasing bureaucratic delays. At the same time, the bureaucracy became subject to

extensive criticism, not only for its expanding size, but also for its lack of efficiency and


2.2 Administrative Models

2.2.1 Weberian Bureaucracy

Most contemporary scholars regard bureaucracy as an inefficient institution. By contrast,

Weber (1947, 1965), who introduced the concept of bureaucracy to the social sciences, was

convinced that bureaucracy is superior to any other organizational form and explained its

prevalence by the immanent rationality of bureaucratic organizations.

What elements of bureaucracy explain its rationality? The main features were developed

by Weber in the volume Economy and Society (1968) and have been expanded over time by

other authors (see Gajduschek 2003 for a discussion of other authors' interpretations of and

extensions to Weber's work). According to Weber, bureaucracies are characterized by the

following features:

1. "They are personally free and subject to authority only with respect to their impersonal

official obligation.

2. They are organized in a clearly defined hierarchy of offices.

3. Each office has a clearly defined sphere of competence in the legal sense.

4. The office if filled by a free contractual relationship. Thus, in principle, there is free


5. Candidates are selected on the basis of technical qualification. In the most rational case,

this is tested by examination and guaranteed by diplomas certifying technical training.

They are appointed, not elected.

6. They are remunerated by fixed salaries in money, for the most part with a right to

pension [...].

7. The office is treated as a sole, or at least primary, occupation of the incumbent.

8. It constitutes a career. There is a system of "promotion" according to seniority or to

achievement, or to both. Promotion is dependent on the judgment of superiors.

9. The official works entirely separated from ownership of the means of administration and

without appropriation of his position.

10. He is subject to strict and systematic discipline and control in the conduct of the office"

(Weber 1968, 220-221).

In Weber's view, all bureaucratic organizations are evolving, moving from the patrimonial

form to the legal-rational (or modern) form. The patrimonial type of bureaucracy involves an

established belief in the sanctity of immemorial traditions and the legitimacy of the status of

those exercising authority under them (Weber 1947, 328). Unlike the modern bureaucracy, in

a patrimonial bureaucracy obedience is owed to the person who occupies the traditionally

sanctioned position of authority (Weber 1947). Furthermore, a patrimonial bureaucracy is

characterized by discretionary application of rules, lack of hierarchy and non-merit

recruitment. In terms of sources of authority, state officials often depend on personal

connections to politicians and access to material resources.

At the other end of the spectrum, the legal-rational type of bureaucracy is characterized

by "a belief in the legality of patterns of normative rules and the right of those elevated to

authority under such rules to issue commands" (Weber 1947, 328). In such a system,

obedience is owed to the legally established impersonal order, and not to a person. State

officials derive their authority from professional credentials and policy-making expertise. The

modern bureaucracy is built upon concepts of impersonality, rationality, and technical


What explains Weber's assumption that all bureaucracies would ultimately become

institutionalized along rational-legal lines? He based his assertion on a historical trend: a

universal increase in both rationality and bureaucratic structures. As, in his view, the two

necessarily go hand in hand, the natural conclusion was that bureaucracies would evolve to be

rational. That is why in Weberian terms bureaucracy is an organizational form that derives

its legitimacy from legal-rationalism.

Many contemporary bureaucracies seem to be associated more with patrimonialism than

with legal-rationality. Bureaucracies in established democracies can be slow, too complex, and

even annoying, but they are not highly discretionary (an essential characteristic of

patrimonialism). By contrast, bureaucracies in many new democracies are characterized by

arbitrariness. These apparatuses can be transformed into technical and responsible

bureaucracies through civil service reform. 3

The Weberian (or classical) approach to civil service reform has been prevalent until the

late 1970s and 1980s, when dissatisfied with Weber's emphasis on rationality, authors

developed the New Public Management approach.

2.2.2 New Public Management Approach

During the 1980s a "paradigm shift" occurred (Ingraham 1996), with a move away from what

is now seen as the traditional, progressive era set of doctrines of good administration,

emphasizing orderly hierarchies, depoliticized bureaucracy, and the elimination of overlap, and

toward what has been called New Public Management or NPM (Hood 1996). NPM is

shorthand for a group of administrative doctrines that figured prominently in the agenda for

bureaucratic reform in several Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

(OECD) countries beginning in the late 1970s.

NPM grew out of the conviction that the government had growr? too big and that it must

delegate some of its activities to private institutions. Its core concept is that private

management is superior to public management, with an emphasis on the citizen (or customer)

and a focus on accountability for results. Structurally, NPM favors the decentralization of
Mazzuca (2007) considers that there is little hope for the new democracies that have patrimonial bureau-
cracies to become stable democracies. Most consolidated democracies have undergone the process of bureau-
cratization before democratizing. Therefore, he concludes, "we know little about the development of the coun-
tries that have democratized the access to power in a context where patrimonialism is the prevailing form of

authority and control, and a wide variety of alternative service delivery mechanisms, including

quasi-markets, with service providers competing for resources from policy-makers (Aucoin

1990, Manning 2002). 4 NPM fit into the larger tenet, conveyed by its advocates, that the

government should "steer, but not row" (Osborne and Gaebler 1992).

NPM doctrinaires believed that public sector jobs should function according to the same

principles as private sector jobs. They were of the opinion that the so-called merit systems and

other public personnel practices protected the incompetent, the inefficient, the lazy, the burnt

out, and even the corrupt. Consequently, public personnel practices had to be overhauled to

allow greater competition and increase overall efficiency (Caiden 2004). NPM promoted the

devaluing of the career service and the opening of most senior positions in government to

individuals who had spent some or all of their careers in the private sector. Managers (or

public administrators in more traditional language) were viewed as the principal actors in

governance, with politicians being something of a necessary evil for governing (Peters 2001).

As a recent World Bank study of administrative change in Hungary, Poland, Romania, and

Russia has noted, the CEE countries have steered curiously clear of the NPM approach, as the

implicit systems and models adopted so far have been centralized hierarchies of the Weberian

tradition (Nunberg 1999). Western international agencies, such as the World Bank, SIGMA

(Support for Improvement in Governance and Management), or the European Union (EU) did

not challenge the "strong national and organizational cultural preferences in CEE countries for

these classical traditions" (Nunberg 1999, 264). In fact, such institutions seem, on the whole,

to have reinforced domestic predispositions towards the classical variant of modernization.

Manning asserts that it is "certainly commonplace for weary consultants and development

agency staff to maintain that there is little in the NPM technical/managerial amalgam that is

appropriate for the politicized public sectors in many developing countries" (2002, 297). 5
The NPM argument for autonomous agencies is that service providers should concentrate on efficient
production of quality services, with the distractions of evaluating alternative policies removed. NPM was con-
ceived as a device for improving efficiency and responsiveness to political principals (Manning 2002).
As far as SIGMA is concerned, its programs have been informed by skepticism, if not "the rejection of
the transfer of the concepts of the new public management that derive from the managerialist administrative
systems of Anglo-Saxon countries" (Goetz 2001a, 1035).

2.3 T h e Civil Service in Central and Eastern Europe

2.3.1 Communist Bureaucracies

Theoretically, public administrations are non-political bodies serving the political government

in power at a certain time; they act with professionalism and impartiality according to defined

rules and procedures that are applied universally; they are organized hierarchically,

disciplined, and have a distinctive culture. By contrast, post-communist bureaucracies display

a high level of corruption, discretionary behavior, low levels of professionalism, lack of

distinction between private and public spheres, and receptiveness to political pressure. All

these features can be traced back to the way the bureaucracy functioned during communism.

During communism, a parallel party bureaucracy, consisting of party loyalists, was created

to mirror the state administration. This party bureaucracy developed policies, gave orders,

and controlled the state bureaucracy. In some countries, the party bureaucracy was integrated

into the administration, such that one person could be both a senior party official and a

high-level civil servant in a ministry. 6

The nomenklatura7 referred to appointments keyed to specific positions. This system,

although quite rational from the point of view of its political and ideological functions

(ensuring partisanship and political reliability), is incompatible with the proposition of

bureaucratic appointments based on impersonal, universalistic, and meritocratic criteria (as

practiced in Weberian-type bureaucracies). Instead, as pointed out by Harasymiw (1969) and

Voslenskii (1984), nomenklatura represented party patronage. The arrangement contained

some bureaucratic features (hierarchy, files, secrecy), but overall it was characterized by a lack

of rational-legal procedures: no published criteria of selection and advancement, no entrance

examinations, and no merit system. Advancement into the nomenklatura occurred primarily

on the initiative of the communist party, not the aspiring bureaucrat. Political qualifications,

such as "political maturity and reliability, devotion to the party and people, ability to orient

oneself towards the party line, conviction in the future of the communist cause, responsibility

and personal loyalty," were elevated to the status of central credentials for recruitment and
In a study tracking the careers of 989 members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in the
Soviet Union from 1912 to 1969, Levytsky (1969) found that a majority of these members had served in the
civil service.
The term translates literally to "nomenclature" - a list of positions, arranged in order of seniority, in-
cluding a description of the duties of each office. However, in common use, it became synonymous with the
appointees designated by the communist party.

promotion (Voslenskii 1984, 46-81). 8 The effect was that the "administrative side of the

politico-administrative process was fully politicized" (Verheijen 1999a, 3). 9

I must emphasize that there was some variation across different countries as to the relative

weight of political criteria in personnel policy. In some countries, political reliability was a

necessary but by no means sufficient criterion for personal advancement. In economic

administrations, in particular, professional skills and expertise increasingly came to balance

political allegiance. For example, in Hungary

political loyalty was the worst requirement, while state servants made definite
efforts to maintain their professional integrity [...] Political control over
appointments was strong, but officially a so-called 'triple requirement' was
established for state servants: political loyalty, professional merits and moral
integrity. After launching the economic reforms in 1968, a more liberal regime was
built and the equal importance of those three requirements was emphasized. (Vass
2001, 154; similarly Gyorgy 1999, 143)

Such differences of emphasis notwithstanding, the communist tradition of open partisanship

translated into high degrees of politicization in the civil service.

Since communism was an authoritarian system based on (1) collective ownership of all

means of production and (2) political repression, we would expect it to display low levels of

autonomy for individual actors in any area. We would imagine a centralized, vertically and

horizontally integrated hierarchy, where the center (i.e., central committee of a communist

party and its government apparatus) directed resources and controlled activities of

organizations and individuals. In reality, central planning was a mere illusion, a fagade for the

dichotomy between the real rules and the official ones. Local groups tried to maximize their

share of the social pie and used economic planning as an instrument and an ideological

smokescreen to amass monopoly power over the allocation of scarce resources, information,

and decision-making processes (Beblavy 2005, 58).

Consequently, corruption occurred at the lower levels of administration. Civil servants were

often willing to circumvent administrative procedures in return for favors from citizens. The

legal system was extensive, detailed, and, to a large extent, unpublicized and if civil servants
Under this system, personnel policy and its execution were exclusively in the hands of the party leaders,
which led to a strengthening of the client-patron networks (Bauman 1979, 187).
"At the post-totalitarian stage, and especially in the age of Communist sclerosis, the Nomenklatura grad-
ually became a device for political advancement of persons who made a successful career inside the profes-
sional bureaucracy. Membership in the Nomenklatura became more of a supplementary burden and an im-
posed set of ritual obligations than a source of power and prestige. The Communist Party membership became
a ticket, bought to continue one's professional career" (Sootla 2002, 29).

in lower level positions had followed the letter of the law, the entire system would have been

obstructed (Sootla 2002). 10 Nevertheless, this bypassing of rules and regulations had a long

lasting effect, creating a culture where corruption and arbitrariness became ordinary. 11

The distinction between public and private property was absent, and the entire economy

was controlled by governmental ministries and subject to uniform regulation. This blurring of

the distinction between public and private not only led to enterprises behaving like the "civil

service" (fulfilling similar functions), but also to civil servants behaving like corporate

managers (Beblavy 2005). In other words, the two groups were part of a unified system under

which civil servants lacked the distinction between state and private interests/property. By

comparison, in a democracy civil servants have to behave as service providers in a free market.

We know that communist bureaucracies played an important role in managing the state,

and especially the economy. Therefore, it is hard to believe that institutions with such a large

role were devoid of any positive features. Empirically, however, it is difficult to identify their

beneficial aspects. Anusiewicz et al. (2001) point to the relatively high level of transparency in

the system; the mechanisms of accountability; long tenures, especially at lower tiers; and the

clear division of responsibility for different administrative tasks. While this may be the case,

it is undeniable that the Soviet-style bureaucracies deviated from the Weberian type in

multiple ways. Among these are: (1) the disparity between the actual and formally prescribed

rules; (2) the superior position of the party organs and party officials vis-a-vis state

administrators; (3) the overlapping jurisdiction and blurred division of labour between the

government and party hierarchies; (4) the frequent reliance on 'political judgement' (rather

than formal regulations); (5) the widespread tolerance of extra-legal and illegal practices; (6)

the importance of ideology and the centrality of charismatic elements in political leadership;

and (7) the widespread patronage associated with the nomenklatura system of appointments

(Rigby 1982). 12
The instrumental treatment of regulations prevented any deadlock in the communist system. The bending
and stretching of rules was essential for the effective operation of the society and these practices were accepted
and tolerated as the way of getting things done and correcting for the rigidity of the centralized economic sys-
tem. Some critics have even suggested that 'work according to rules' would have been synonymous with paral-
ysis of the system, and 'work according to rational calculation' would have seriously jeopardized the positions
of state administrators.
A number of studies (Hough 1969, Rigby 1979, and Schapiro 1970) suggest that Soviet-style politico-
administrative systems were characterized by the existence of a 'second polity' (analogous to the 'second econ-
omy'). This 'second polity' was abounding with patronage and informal connections (Bauman 1979).
Hough's study on the Soviet prefects portrays an administrative system lacking such elementary bureau-
cratic features as "a clear line of subordination and clearly defined spheres of responsibilities in the party ap-

It is undeniable that the communist era had enduring effects on the administrative

apparatus. For example, Mungiu-Pippidi (2002/2003) argues that corruption in Eastern

Europe in the 1990s is best explained by the survival of communist-era administrations

combined with the absence of any institutions of accountability, which were destroyed under

dictatorship. 13 The challenge now is for states to transform the communist "politbureacracy"

(Verheijen 1999) into a permanent, professional, and impartial civil service, capable of serving

a democratically elected government.

2.3.2 Perspectives on Administrative Development in C E E

Before analyzing the different civil service systems created by their respective civil service acts

(in Chapter 3), I will briefly discuss the two main perspectives on the reform process in CEE.

On the one hand, we have the modernization theory that, in a classical Weberian perspective,

views legal-rational bureaucracies as an integral part of the overall political and economic

development process. In this context, the emergence of a modern administration becomes an

integral part of democracy. On the other hand, the Europeanization approach focuses on the

transformation of administrative apparatuses exclusively from the perspective of the

bureaucracy's role within the EU system.

Modernization theory

Political scientists and sociologists explain the evolution of the CEE bureaucracies primarily

through the lens of modernization theory. Viewed from this perspective, post-communist

administrative development is part of a comprehensive 'belated' modernization of the CEE

states - a process which includes political liberalization and democratization; economic

privatization and marketization; and societal pluralization and individualization (Goetz

2001a). Moreover, liberal democracy is associated with a specific type of public administration
paratus", resembling the "Napoleonic administration of appointed local prefects." The prefect's power was not
formally regulated; it differed in relation to tasks, successes in fulfilling duties, and personal links with the top
leadership. Remuneration of the party 'prefects' (i.e., secretaries) depended on the fulfillment of plans, and
their promotion occurred on the basis of political commitment to or existence of "certain political and psycho-
logical values." Bending and breaking the law was tolerated, especially when the fulfilment of tasks is at stake;
success justified all irregularities, such as using personal connections, petty bribery, blackmail, etc. The activi-
ties of administrative organs were not subject to any clear limitations as far as their interference with the lives
of citizens was concerned (Hough 1969, 189-300).
According to Mungiu-Pippidi, corruption manifests itself not only as the use of public office for personal
gain, but more broadly as the widespread infringement on the norms of impersonality and fairness that pre-
sumably characterize modern societies (2002/2003, 82).

(i.e., legal-rational bureaucracy). For example, Linz and Stepan identify 'rational-legal

bureaucratic norms' as the 'primary organizing principle' of the state apparatus, which is one

of the five major arenas of a 'modern consolidated democracy' (the other arenas being civil

society, political society, economic society, and the rule of law). Ko.iig (1992) regards the 'real

socialist' state administration 1 4 as the starting point of post-communist reform and a

'conventional West European system' as its developmental objective (similarly Hesse 1993a).

How does the modernization theory perspective explain civil service reform? Prime

explanatory power is accorded to: the constellation of domestic actors as, for example, in

Meyer-Sahling's (2001 and 2008) explanation of Hungary's front-runner status in civil service

reform; the importance of institutional veto-points, as in Zubek's (2001) account of Poland's

'checked executive;' and the influence of communist and pre-communist legacies, most notably

cultural, behavioral, attitudinal, and mental orientations that are seen to hamper institutional

reform. As far as the latter variable is concerned, much has been made of the lack of popular

trust in public institutions (see Mishler and Rose 1997, 2001) and the effects of distrust within

administrative institutions, notably between officials and elected executive politicians (Vass

1999). This is not to say that modernization accounts are oblivious to the direct effects of

both external pressure and assistance on institutional change in the region. In this respect,

Brusis and Dimitrov (2001) analyze the impact of IMF pressures on executive arrangements

for budgetary policy-making. However, as a general rule, international factors are treated as

contextual variables that establish opportunities and constraints for domestic reforms, rather

than decisive drivers of institutional development.

Initially studies written from the modernization perspective were optimistic about the

outcome of civil service reform. Over time this optimism gave way to restraint. The

expectations for a radical and fast break with the institutional legacies of communism, which

had informed Western analyses of state administration during the early years of the transition

(see Hesse 1993a and 1993b), were replaced by more pessimistic assessments that highlighted
The 'real socialist' administration is shorthand for the organization of state power under communism that
was based on: the explicit rejection of a mechanism for effective separation of powers; a unifed state admin-
istration comprising all tiers of the state apparatus, with strong hierarchical controls and subordination; the
intertwining of party bureaucracy and state administration, with the former having directive authority over
the latter; a general disregard for the rule of law, so that party decisions took precedence over legal norms;
a personnel system that relied on politicized cadres and a party-controlled nomfinclatura; the reluctance to
acknowledge a separate public service identity; and an emphasis on economic planning and social control as
central administrative functions (Konig 1992). Also, see the previous discussion of communist bureaucracies in
Subsection 2.3.1.

reform delays and evidence of systematic gaps between reform legislation and the actual

administrative practice.

Europeanization A p p r o a c h

Since the mid-1990s, 'Europeanization' has evolved as the second major perspective on

administrative development in the region (Grabbe 2001, Lippert et al. 2001). The key
questions for the Europeanization approach are: (1) To what extent and in what ways have

the political systems of the Member States been transformed under the influence of European

integration, 15 and (2) What effect did the accession process have on the CEE public


The literature centers on anticipatory effects (i.e., the manner in which future member

states prepare their administrative systems for accession) and anticipated effects (i.e., the

likely long-term administrative implications of eventual EU membership). Europeanization

studies concentrate mainly on the specific adaptive requirements associated with EU

membership negotiations and eventual EU accession. Yet this emphasis has been criticized as

overly restrictive. Hence, some authors frame membership negotiations and accession as part

of a broader 'return to Europe' (Lippert et al. 2001). However, to the extent that

administrative Europeanization in CEE has been empirically investigated, the more narrow

understanding has prevailed (Nunberg 2000). The emphasis in such studies has been on the

challenges faced by states in adopting and implementing the EU body of law (acquis

communautaire) and preparing for what, in EU parlance, has become known as the 'European

administrative space' (SIGMA 1998, 1999).

As with modernization accounts, the Europeanization approach regards the legacy of the

communist bureaucracy as the key challenge to be addressed in post-communist

administrative development. However, in contrast to the modernization theory that discusses

the bureaucracy within the confines of the traditional nation-state, Europeanization perceives

administrative development as part of the emergence of a multi-level political system (Lippert

et al. 2001). The key developmental objective is not, therefore, to build a modern bureaucracy

that would fulfill traditional roles for the state, but instead to create a public administration

that allows the future member states to act as effective players in the EU's multi-level
See Knill 2001 for a detailed account of the Europeanization of national administrations.

governance system (Lippert et al. 2001).

Grabbe (2001) points out that there is little chance (or danger) that European integration

will lead to the emergence of a uniform model of public administration amongst the applicant

countries. Persistent differences even amongst the administrative systems of long-standing

member states make such an outcome unlikely. But EU-compatibility is seen as the decisive

yardstick for evaluating current administrative arrangements. Institutional development in

the region is, thus, viewed through the EU lens.

In terms of the actors involved, the Europeanization perspective explicitly recognizes the

significance of external pressures and expectations and the role of both international agencies

and Western governments in shaping the path of administrative reform in CEE. The

repertoire of mechanisms used is complex, including gate-keeping, benchmarking and

monitoring, imposing legislative and institutional templates, supplying aid and technical

assistance, and advising and twinning (Grabbe 2001).

How Europeanized are the administrations of the CEE applicant states? Empirical

assessments until now have concentrated on linkage issues, i.e., the institutional arrangements

that link national executives and EU authorities and the institutional practices that have

evolved at the national level to support national-EU connections (Agh 1999; Lippert et al.

2001; Verheijen in SIGMA 1998). What these studies show is that European integration

appears to have acted as a force for institutional change, but that this transformation

occurred only at the top levels where experts are required to manage accession negotiations

and implement EU recommendations. In this sense, European integration is a contributing

factor in the emergence of post-communist core executives (Goetz and Wollmann 2001; Zubek

2001). However, there is little evidence for strong horizontal and vertical diffusion effects. In

fact, Goetz (2001) argues that European integration appears to contribute to the creation of

'enclaves' within the administration. These 'enclaves' are formed by civil servants who are

highly professional and deal with the European Union institutions. Unfortunately their

technocratic excellence is an exception and does not diffuse across institutions (Goetz 2001). 16
Nunberg observed that "EU accession institutions stand out from overall public administration organs in
quality and efficiency [...] Staff associated with the dedicated EU management institutions have high status,
are multilingual and have higher skills and educational levels than general civil service staff. Remuneration
levels tend to be higher, resulting from explicit bonus programs or circumvention of standardized civil service
constraints." Moreover, there is the danger of a "post- accession brain drain of skilled personnel that many
expect to occur in national EU structures [...] Talent may be lost to Brussels or to the private sector" (2000,

The conclusion is that in much of CEE administrative development has not advanced
'according to plan,' i.e., in line with the aspirations of domestic modernizers and
Europeanizers, the initial expectations of many external analysts, or the reform agendas of
international organizations. Nunberg's sombre conclusion reflects a widely shared sentiment:
"bureaucracies of the ancien regime have proved strikingly resistant to wholesale
transformation, dashing notions that modern, 'Western-style' administrations could be
installed with minimal effort and maximal speed" (1999, 265-6). What exactly do the civil
service systems in the CEE post-communist democracies look like? The next chapter
discusses them in depth.

Chapter 3

Civil Service Systems

In this chapter I analyze the civil service systems in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) 1 to

answer the question:

What are the characteristics of the civil service systems created in CEE after the

collapse of communism?

To this end, I identify systemic institutional differences that could explain why some systems

function better than others. This research has important policy implications. If certain

institutional variations are more effective at increasing professionalism (for example) within

the civil service, then countries reforming their administrative system need only adopt the

"right" institutional model. But if differences in outcome are not explained by institutional

idiosyncrasies, the reform process should focus on other factors (such as party system

development, as discussed in Chapter 5).

What does it mean for a civil service system to function well? What is the definition of

civil service performance? A civil service system that performs well is one that is highly

professional and depoliticized, and can effectively implement policies in a non-arbitrary

manner. Performance is a very difficult aspect to measure. I use a measure of bureaucratic

quality created by the Political Risk Society, a political risk assessment company. The

measure gives a high number pf points to countries where the bureaucracy has the strength

and expertise to govern without drastic changes in policy or interruptions in government

services. In these low-risk countries, the bureaucracy tends to be somewhat insulated from

political pressure and has an established mechanism for recruitment and training. Countries

that lack the cushioning effect of a strong bureaucracy receive a lower number of points

because a change in government tends to be traumatic in terms of policy formulation and

I include the following countries in the CEE: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech
Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Slovakia,
and Slovenia.

day-to-day administrative functions.

The information in this chapter makes an important contribution to the scarce amount of

comparative research focused on the civil service. The upper (managerial) level civil service

has received more attention (Aberbach et al. 1981; Bekke and van der Meer 2001; Dogan 1975;

Farazmand 1997; O'Dwyer 2006, Pierre 1995; Rose 1985; Verheijen 1999) and with few

exceptions (Rose 1985; Verheijen 1999) these works focus exclusively on the interaction

between political and administrative systems. 2 Moreover, a majority of these studies looks at

Western European systems (with the exception of O'Dwyer 2006 and Veheijen 1999). More

recently, international organizations such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and

Development (OECD) (through its Public Management (PUMA) and Support for

Improvement in Governance and Management (SIGMA) programs), the International

Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank have taken an interest in generating information

on civil service systems. Their approach, excluding SIGMA's work on CEE, has placed a

heavy emphasis on the export of New Public Management (NPM) concepts (see Chapter 2 for

details on NPM). While these studies are informative, they fail to generate comparative work,

as they do not delve into the idiosyncrasies of these systems.

There are two main gaps in the literature with respect to the civil service: (1) a majority

of the studies looks at only one country, with the literature devoid of works that examine the

civil services collectively and in relation to one another; and (2) prior studies attempting to

identify the dimensions of civil service systems have failed empirically, as these dimensions

routinely prove to be inadequate in capturing the various systems' characteristics. 3 The

present analysis fills these two gaps in the literature, by identifying the dimensions of civil
It is worth mentioning that there are also several historical studies that look at the evolution of the civil
service systems through phases of development. For example, Pierre (1995), Raadschelders and Rugers (1996),
and Raadschelders (1998) distinguish between five phases: (1) civil servants as personal servants; (2) civil ser-
vants in the state service; (3) civil servants in public service; (4) civil service as protected service; and (5) the
civil service as professional service. They suggest the following factors to explain the evolution: the impor-
tance of nation state building; the demarcation between the public and private domains of life; the creation of
a separate civil service identity with respect to, amongst other things, their legal status; the expansion of gov-
ernment tasks; and the increasing professionalism of the civil service.
Attempts to systematize civil service systems have proved inadequate. For example, Morgan and Perry
(1988) advocate a configuration approach modeled on four properties that serve as parameters: rules, struc-
tures, roles, and norms. Similarly, Heady (1996) proposes five dimensions along which civil service systems
can be placed. These configurations are, nevertheless, inadequate for analyzing the CEE cases. For example,
Verheijen and the other authors contributing to his extensive comparative study on CEE attempt to position
the civil service systems according to Morgan and Perry's parameters and along Heady's dimensions. They
conclude that such an undertaking is "difficult" and forces a high degree of subjectivity (Torres-Bartyzel and
Kacprowicz 1999).

service systems and looking at a large number of cases (16 countries). Only by comparing one

system to another can we identify what makes some systems function better than others.

My approach is to look empirically at the civil service acts from sixteen countries to

identify concrete variables of the civil service systems. 4 I then place these variables under a

number of conceptual dimensions that are intellectually interesting and meaningful: capacity,

professionalism, independence, transparency, and accountability. This approach has the

advantage of being exhaustive, ensuring that significant, but less obvious, characteristics do

not escape my analysis. By the end of this chapter I hope to determine where these systems

are situated on an imaginary merit-spoils system scale (i.e., to determine how meritocratic

these systems are).

My research indicates that the civil service systems designed by civil service acts combine

meritocratic elements with the means for direct political influence through preferential

appointment processes, arbitrary allocations of salary bonuses, and/or inconsistent dismissal

procedures. I also find that, despite the widely-held negative public sentiment and anecdotal

evidence from the literature of a bloated system, CEE civil services are lean compared to

those of developed democracies. Cross-national longitudinal data show that countries have

followed very different employment patterns after 1990, and that a change in the number of

employees did not translate into a better or worse quality of bureaucracy.

I use the concept of "civil service system" as a core abstraction in this chapter. Civil

service systems are defined as "mediating institutions that mobilise human resources in the

service of the affairs of the state in a given territory" (Morgan and Perry 1988, 85-86). 5 By

using civil service systems instead of better known concepts, such as bureaucracy, I can avoid

certain misconceptions. Bureaucracy has manifold meanings even in the Weberian sense: a

form of organization, a state of societal development, and a staff of officials supporting the

implementation of authority. In our everyday lives, the term "bureaucracy" has acquired

(rightly or wrongly) a pejorative meaning, which hinders objective research. Moreover, the

two terms - civil service system and bureaucracy - are not conceptually equivalent, as civil
What variables should be used to describe civil service systems? In general, the variables chosen depend
on the problems being researched (Miller and Friesen 1984). Hall (1972) suggests that a thorough characteri-
zation of organizational configurations should include variables "describing their technology, environment, type
of personnel, structure, process, and organizational output." Hall states that the variables chosen should inter-
relate to produce predictive configurations.
Heady (1996) and Morgan (1996) have a similar understanding of civil service systems.

service system is a sub-dimension of bureaucracy.

This investigation relies on a thorough examination of the rules and procedures regulating

the civil service. These regulations are assembled into civil service laws (or civil service acts). 7

I collected the civil service laws adopted since the fall of communism in CEE and constructed

an original dataset that enables me to analyze the civil service systems along the

aforementioned dimensions. While the same countries have adopted multiple laws (see Figure

3.1), I look at only one law per country. In most cases this is the most recent law (this choice

was made out of necessity as the most recent laws are the ones more easily accessible). 8

Why should we look at civil service laws? As detailed in Section 3.1, civil service laws

regulate crucial aspects of the civil service, such as recruitment practices and advancement

procedures (among other things). Hence, they are the ideal reservoir of information regarding

the civil service. Moreover, these data have not been explored by any researcher to date.

The sixteen countries in my study (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia,

Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro,

Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia) vary greatly in terms of the nature of the

communist regime. Some were categorized by Kitschelt et al. (1999b) as bureaucratic

authoritarian (e.g., Czech and Slovak Republics), national accommodative (e.g., Hungary and

Poland), or patrimonial (e.g., Bulgaria and Romania); by level of economic development (in

1990 GDP per capita ranged from $690 in Moldova to $7,300 in Slovenia; in 2006 GDP per

capita ranged from $490 in Moldova to $12,000 in Slovenia 9 ); or by cultural and religious

prevalence (for example, Poland and Hungary are predominantly Catholic, Romania and

Bulgaria are Orthodox, and Bosnia and Herzegovina is Muslim). Some of these countries have

been part of the Soviet Union (e.g., Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Moldova), while others

were part of federal states that have disintegrated since the collapse of communism (e.g.,

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Slovenia were part of the
Using the concept of civil service systems presupposes an institutional approach. According to Bekke et
al. (1996) institutions are not identical to organizations, but should in fact be separated from them (see also
North 1990). Institutions are the driving force behind organizations because they direct organizational behav-
ior. In that sense, civil service systems are to be seen as sets of rules and authority relations, which shape the
behavior of the members of the civil service. A rule contains norms about prescribed behavior and constitutes
a point of convergence for the expectations of the actors involved.
I use the terms civil service laws and civil service acts interchangeably.
Ideally, I would compare different laws adopted in one country over time, to see what changes were made
to the system. Unfortunately, only the most recent version of these laws is available.
Based on data from the World Bank's World Development Indicators.

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; the Czech Republic and Slovakia formed Czechoslovakia), and

the rest were independent states under the influence of the Soviet Union. Finally, the

majority of these countries, but not all of them, have become members of the European Union

(or are on course for accession). These cases also greatly vary by level of bureaucratic

performance, as shown in Figure 3.14.

Ideally, this study would include all the post-communist states in Central and Eastern

Europe and the former Soviet Union. However, I was unable to obtain the civil service laws

for Russia and the authoritarian republics in Central Asia (see Table A.l for a list of the laws,

by country). 1 0 This is unfortunate, because a comparison of the systems in authoritarian

states with the ones in democratic countries would have made this investigation even more

valuable. Future research should be focused in that direction.

This chapter is organized into several subsections. I first discuss the importance of civil

service laws, as well as their main elements. I then analyze each dimension of the civil service

system, using original data collected from civil service laws. I complement this information

with figures from case studies and country reports compiled by international organizations.

By the end of the chapter, I find that CEE systems display many similarities and conclude

that the institutional setting does not explain the variation in performance.

3.1 W h y Do We Need a Civil Service Law?

It is imperative to know why civil service acts are indispensable. After all, if they were not

essential, analyzing them would be futile. This section pays tribute to the civil service law.

As a special regulation, the civil service law constitutes the means through which basic

aspects regarding civil servants can be defined: who is qualified to be a civil servant, what are

his/her rights and duties, what are the circumstances under which the employment

relationship ends, what bodies manage the civil service, and so forth. According to SIGMA

(1996c), a civil service act is intended to meet a number of objectives:

improve performance of the civil service through an increase in professionalism and

independence, while at the same time ensuring the accountability of the staff
Missing from the study are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia,
Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Figure 3 . 1 . T i m e l i n e of Civil Service Laws in C E E and Central A s i a (by D a t e
of A d o p t i o n ) .
Note: The laws I analyze are in red.

Bosnia- Georgia Serbia & Lithuania 2
Herzegovina Moldova
Poland Kyrkyzstan Latvia?. Slovakia s,,m,ja B<)Snia,
Croatia Lithuania Turkmenistan Bulgaria Azerbaijan Armenia Czedi Herzegovina 2 Kyrgyzstan 2 Croatia 3
Hungary Ukraine Latvia Estonia Albania Poland 2 Albania 2 Macedonia Croatia 2 Republic Belarus Montenegro Serbia Tajikistan

1992 1993 1994 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2004 2005 2006 2007

enable the government to adapt the administration to changing needs (e.g., through

restructuring, to cut costs or to reallocate human resources from one part of the civil

service to another)

give the public administration legitimacy in the eyes of the citizenry and make citizens

and other groups of state employees accept the features underlying a professional civil


The civil service law is also the mechanism through which civil service reform is carried

out. A majority of CEE countries have adopted such laws. 11 Some of these laws have been

modified, while others have been repealed and replaced with new ones (see Figure 3.1 and

Table A.l for details on the timeline of adoption for the civil service acts). This legal effort is

driven by the belief that a permanent and stable professional civil service is necessary for the

state to perform its functions in a satisfactory manner. Specific civil service laws are

indispensable in post-communist societies because communist bureaucracies were regulated by

the general provisions of the Labor Code, which had negative repercussions on the level of

professionalism and independence of the civil service. 12

I analyze the most recent civil service laws in this study.
Some disadvantages of not having a special law regulating the civil service are: (1) under general labor
legislation, civil servants are analogous to other public employees and do not benefit from job protection guar-
antees; (2) general labor regulations do not impose special requirements for civil servants to be politically neu-
tral or to abstain from activities that might lead to conflicts of interest; (3) civil servants do not benefit from
special compensation schemes under a Labor Code regime, which makes them more susceptible to external in-
fluences; (4) in the absence of a specifically defined civil service, there is no clear-cut distinction between "reg-
ular" government employees and political appointees; and (5) the Labor Code contains very few mechanisms of
monitoring and holding employees accountable, meaning ethics violations could go unpunished.

Figure 3.2. Dimensions of Civil Service Systems.


scope of the civil service



personnel qualifications
recruitment procedure
rules for advancement
training programs
average tenure and turnover rates
salary system

Independence from external


job protection guarantees


publicity of the recruitment process

access to information


conflict of interest provisions

disclosure of assets
disciplinary sanctions

3.2 Dimensions of Civil Service Systems

In writing this analysis, one of the more challenging issues was deciding how best to organize
the interesting information gathered from inspecting the civil service acts. While being
amongst the options considered, a discussion of the civil service systems around the structure
of the laws was the least appealing. This is why I opted to depict these systems along
dimensions13 that reflect the larger implications embodied in these provisions (see Figure 3.2).
For instance, an enumeration of the civil servants' rights may appeal to a civil servant
interested in knowing what he/she is licensed to do. However, these rights become
thought-provoking when we put them in the context of a larger category called 'job protection
Some of these dimensions, such as professionalism, accountability, and transparency, are listed among the
principles governing these systems. Please see Appendix B for a complete list of principles.

guarantees,' which in turn is part of a larger concept of 'independence from external

influence.' To anchor these provisions in the empirical reality, I corroborate the legal

information with statistics from various studies, primarily World Bank and SIGMA reports

(for more details regarding the civil service laws, please see Appendix B).

These topics are not mutually exclusive, but hopefully they are commonly exhaustive.

What I mean by this is that some of the issues I discuss under one theme may be pertinent to

other themes, as well. For example, wage policy is relevant not only to professionalism (the

dimension under which I address it), but also to capacity, transparency, and independence.

When this is the case, I make a reference sending the reader to the appropriate section.

3.2.1 Capacity

Because the civil service plays such a preeminent role in securing a properly functioning state,

administrative capacity is an essential characteristic of a civil service system. One could argue

that this dimension is all-encompassing; after all, isn't professionalism an aspect of capacity?

Here, I opt for an understanding of capacity limited primarily to size. I discuss the definition

of the civil servant (the scope of the law) because before we start to tally, we need to know

exactly who we are supposed to count. I will consider the issue of wages and their proportion

of gross domestic product (GDP), as well as other salary related issues under the dimension of


As authors have used different definitions of the civil service, I believe the best way to

start is by specifying what the civil service is and how it fits into the overall public

administration (see Figure 3.3). Part of the public employment, the civil service is formed of

civilian, central and local government employees, who are not in the domains of education,

health care, or police force.

W h o Is a Civil Servant?

Determining who is a civil servant is one of the most important aspects of a civil service law.

The difficulty arises in trying to create a balanced description that is not too narrow (thus

leaving a majority of the public personnel outside the protection of the act) and yet not too

inclusive either (which would nullify the purpose of the reform process by not enhancing the

level of professionalization in the civil service).

Figure 3.3. C o m p o s i t i o n of P u b l i c E m p l o y m e n t .

Slate-Owned Enterprises

As a general trend, the scope of the civil service has been defined in the literature

conservatively to include only those workers holding public authority or directly involved in

policy-making, law drafting or implementation of policy. This interpretation of the civil

service is justified by the reduced role of the state: many activities previously carried out by

the central or local governments will be carried out in the future by the private sector. 14

From the analysis of the CEE laws it is clear that the scope of the law is defined by taking

into consideration several criteria:

1. Exercise of public authority

2. Exercise of authority within a state institution (central or local)

3. Qualifications needed to exercise such public authority

4. Delimitation from elected or political positions 15

But this does not necessarily mean a cutback in the size of the civil sector. The state's role is limited to
fewer domains, but is not necessarily of a lesser magnitude.
Politicians (i.e., persons that occupy a position as a result of elections) occupy the top administrative
positions. They carry out policy-making tasks and give direction to the administration. However, politicians

Figure 3.4. C o m p o n e n t U n i t s of t h e Civil Service.

Civil Service

Central Administration Branch Administration

Ministries and Foreign Branches of Territorial

Central Offices Services Central Offices Administration
AA Regional
Regional District and

The scope of a civil service act is generally denned by referencing the institutions whose

employees are considered civil servants. As a rule, the civil service is composed of the

administrative staff in central administrative organs (e.g., office of the president, office of the

parliament, ministries, Constitutional Court, Supreme Court of Justice, Ombudsman, etc.), as

well as the support staff in regional and local agencies, and in administrative organs of local

governments (see Figure 3.4). Expressly excluded are positions filled through direct elections

(e.g., president, member of the legislature, mayors, etc.). For details on the exact institutions

covered by each law, please see Appendix B.

The Hungarian and Lithuanian systems have a special category of civil servants: civil

servants as political appointees. Created after the German model of politico-administrative

relations (Verheijen 1997), civil servants of political or personal confidence have a tenure equal

to that of their appointing authority, which means that they do not form part of the

permanent civil service. In Lithuania, they occupy very high positions in the administrative

structure, as ministry and state secretaries. Because of the nature of their appointment, their

enrollment is generally limited. In Hungary, political advisors cannot number more than 5%

of the staff in an institution (SIGMA 2002h). Even so, because their responsibilities are not

clearly defined, they frequently encroach upon the duties of the permanent staff and state

secretaries. This situation spurs unhealthy competition in the top echelons of the
and civil servants have different bases of legitimacy. While politicians derive their legitimacy from the popular
vote, civil servants act on the basis of their qualifications.

administrative hierarchy, and makes it difficult for independent, professional policy advice to

reach ministerial ears (SIGMA 2003e).

What is the effect of this openly declared political class of civil servants? In Lithuania,

before the adoption of the 1999 Civil Service Act, approximately 30% of the civil servants

were dismissed or transferred after a general election. By contrast, after the legislative

reform, "the civil service has remained reasonably stable and shielded from politics, in spite of

frequent changes in government and an estimated 20% turnover of personnel" (SIGMA

2002g). After a change of government, only political advisers are removed from office.

However, during their tenure in office, political advisors can have great influence over policy'

decisions. In Lithuania, in each ministry and in the Prime Minister's office, political advisers

form a type of cabinet. The influence and size of these cabinets vary and depend on the

personality of the Prime Minister. While some Prime Ministers have favored larger cabinets,

others lean toward policy-making by professional career civil servants, under the control of

ministers, rather than by political advisers (SIGMA 2003a).

Similarly, in Hungary political advisors are generally removed from their positions when

there is a change of government, but they keep their civil servant status and can return to the

position they occupied before being politically appointed. Nonetheless, experience has shown

that these administrative secretaries end up leaving public service altogether when removed

from office, representing a loss of experience and expertise for the civil service (SIGMA

2002h). Moreover, the total dependency on ministerial goodwill to stay in a managerial office

means that administrative state secretaries are in no position to guarantee neutral

professionalism as a barrier against politically biased interventions.

The patent demarcation between civil servants and political appointees has some potential

advantages. This special class can insulate regular civil servants from political interference.

For the appointing authority, a political appointment solves the problem of trust. Political

appointees can act as a quasi-cabinet in which policies are designed, leaving their

implementation to the politically neutral civil servants. Civil servants of political confidence

can be part of a process of "rationalization of politicization" (Verheijen 1997).

Still, why does the scope of the law matter? For cross-national research, one needs a clear

definition of the variable to be analyzed. But such clarity is lacking when it comes to the

definition of the civil servant. For example, under the Estonian law, judges are part of the

civil service. But they are expressly excluded in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovakia. To

add to the conceptual tangle, in Moldova and Lithuania only Supreme Court and

Constitutional Court judges are outside the scope of the law. 16 Taking into account this

variation in scope, it is of little wonder that most comparative studies include only a small

number of countries. This variation explains also the lack of sound comparative data on

employment in the civil service.


In the 1990s the World Bank started to emphasize downsizing as a key component of

administrative reform in developing countries. Its argument was that many civil services were

overstaffed and that this underutilized workforce placed a great strain on a country's budget

(see MacGregor et al. 1998 for a discussion on the role and modalities of downsizing in

developing countries). Other authors (most notably O'Dwyer 2004 and 2006) have argued

that administrative expansion in CEE was not accompanied by a corresponding increase in

efficiency and was in fact an indicator of patronage politics. However, in any given case, it is

impossible to determine a priori how much of this expansion was functional and how much

was political. A considerable part of the growth could be explained by the demand for greater

levels of government services during economic development (Wagner's Law, which contends

that economic development generates demand for greater levels of government services).

Patronage politics could (and undoubtedly did) play a role. For example, Gimpelson (2003)

notes that the Russian civil service declined in size in the early 1990s, only to swell by more

than 15% between 1994 and 2000. But when compared to OECD countries, 17 the Russian civil

service at almost 1.8% of total employment, and 0.8% of the population, is quite lean (the
Similarly, in Hungary, the law covers the employees of the National Radio and Television Board, while
under the Czech law members of the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting are not considered civil
servants. In Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Macedonia, and Slovakia the civil service act applies to members of
the Audit Office, while in Bosnia and Herzegovina it does not apply to the Auditor-General and the Deputy
Auditors-General (though it is unclear whether it applies to the rest of the employees in the office). In Esto-
nia, the Public Service Act extends to police officers, border guard officials and prison officers, while the scope
of the Hungarian law excludes these categories. The Slovak and Slovene laws give civil servant status to mem-
bers of the police force, prison warden and customs officers, but specify that they are governed by special regu-
The OECD member countries are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fin-
land, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands,
New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United
Kingdom, and United States.
When regional comparisons are made, I exclude the CEE countries from the OECD sample.

Table 3 . 1 . Civil Service E m p l o y m e n t Worldwide (as % of P o p u l a t i o n ) .

Government Administration
Central Local
0.9 0.3
(20 countries)
0.9 0.7
(11 countries)
Eastern Europe and former USSR
1.0 0.8
(17 countries)
Latin America & Caribbean
1.2 0.7
(9 countries)
Middle East and North Africa
1.4 0.9
(8 countries)
1.8 2.5
(21 countries)
Total sample = 86 countries 1.2 1.1

average for the OECD countries is 10% of total employment and 4.3% of total population).

The size of the civil service is a very contentious matter. While public opinion and

researchers usually share the belief that the civil service is very large and unnecessarily

inflated, very little data exist on the actual size of the civil service. The International Labor

Organization (ILO) asks states to report data on the size of their 'general government

employees' (see Figure 3.3) annually. Unfortunately this data are not disaggregated, so we do

not know whether the increase (or decrease) in size is the result of an increase (or decrease) in

the number of civil servants or in the military, for example.

The most reliable data are based on a World Bank cross-national survey of approximately

100 countries, carried out in the early 1990s. 18 Worldwide, civil service employment averaged

(on an unweighted basis for all countries of the sample) 2.3% of the population. It was the

highest in the OECD countries (at 4.3%) and the lowest in Africa (at 1.2%) (see Table 3.1).

Do higher numbers correspond to higher quality work from the civil service? Is the

government more effective when there are more civil servants per capita? Figures 3.5 and 3.6

show a positive relation between civil service employment (as % of population) and

'government effectiveness' (as measured by the World Bank) 1 9 on the one hand, and 'quality
The quality of the data varies per country. The authors (Schiavo-Campo, de Tommaso, and Mukherjee)
conclude that the data are comparable for 86 countries, but they do not specify exactly in how many countries
the survey was administered. They also refer to the data as being from the 'early 1990s' but no exact year is
'Government effectiveness' measures "the quality of public services, the quality of the civil service and the

Figure 3.5. Civil Service E m p l o y m e n t and Government Effectiveness World-
Source: World Bank
Note: Civil service employment data are from the early 1990s. 'Government effectiveness' runs
from -2.5 to 2.5, with 2.5 indicating a very effective government. I used the 1996 score, the first
score in the series. N = 119


CD i-

> .5"
LLI - r^"-""
o- \-^*"^
t ^ ^*r%
CD e-< ^ :*


-1 - s . *
o _ t


-2.5 H
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10
Civil Service Employment as % of Population

of bureaucracy' (as measured by the International Country Risk Guide - ICRG) 2 0 on the

other. The positive relationship holds for CEE countries, though it is weaker (see Figure 3.7).

What these figures show is that, not surprisingly, a larger civil service is associated with

better quality public services. 21 This is consistent with O'Donnell's (1999) assertion that the

antonym of big is not small, but lean. That is, there is nothing inherently bad about large

civil services. 22

In CEE during the 1990s, there was an expectation that civil services would downsize
degree of its independence from political pressures, the quality of policy formulation and implementation, and
the credibility of the government's commitment to such policies" (Kaufmann et al. 2007, 3).
'Quality of bureaucracy' captures the strength of the bureaucracy. "High points are given to countries
where the bureaucracy has the strength and expertise to govern without drastic changes in policy or interrup-
tions in government services. In these low-risk countries, the bureaucracy tends to be somewhat autonomous
from political pressure and to have an established mechanism for recruitment and training. Countries that lack
the cushioning effect of a strong bureaucracy receive low points because a change in government tends to be
traumatic in terms of policy formulation and day-to-day administrative functions" (ICRG Codebook).
Using data on regional variation in bureaucratic employment in Russia, Gehlbach (2008) illustrates the
importance of accounting for economies of scale in the state administration.
The positive relationship does not hold across geographical regions. For a breakdown of the trends by
region, please see Figures A.l and A.2.

Figure 3.6. Civil Service E m p l o y m e n t and Quality of B u r e a u c r a c y Worldwide.
Source: World Bank and ICRG
Note: Civil service employment data are from the early 1990s. 'Quality of bureaucracy' runs
from 0 to 4, with 4 indicating a high quality bureaucracy. I used the data from 1993 with the
exceptions of Belarus, Ukraine, and Croatia for which the closest available data were from 1998.
For the same reason, I used the 1999 scores for Azerbaijan, Armenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Moldova, Kazakhstan, and Slovenia. N = 99




2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10

Civil Service Employment as % of Population

(Brym 2004, Gimpelson 2003, O'Donnell 2006). The motivation for downsizing has usually

been a combination of fiscal discipline (governments trying to reduce the costs of public

administration) and a desire to move toward a more market oriented economy. 23 Most authors

report that the legacy of the socialist system, in which the state was supposed to provide for

everything, is a bloated public sector. They argue that a contraction in the role of the state

would lead to a downsizing of the public administration. 24

How have CEE civil service systems evolved since the collapse of communism?

Cross-national longitudinal data on civil service employment are very scarce. All the data

available come from a limited number of case studies. But we can use these data to get an

idea of the trends in employment. As shown in Figure 3.8, for some countries (i.e., Hungary)

the number of civil servants declined in the 1990s, while in other countries it increased, either
Neoliberals advocate limiting the government and importing market mechanisms into the public arena
(Albert 1993; Pierson 1994).
Interestingly, Lee and Strang (2003) uncover a diffusion effect in public sector employment in OECD
countries between 1980 and 1997. This mutual influence exists among nations that are geographically close
and that trade extensively, but not among competitors. Moreover, downsizing is contagious, while upsizing is

Figure 3.7. Civil Service Employment and Quality of Bureaucracy, and Civil
Service Employment and Government Effectiveness in CEE.
Source: World Bank and ICRG
Note: Civil service employment data are from the early 1990s. 'Government effectiveness' runs
from -2.5 to 2.5, with 2.5 indicating a very effective government. I used the 1996 score, the first
score in the series. 'Quality of bureaucracy' runs from 0 to 4, with 4 indicating a high quality
bureaucracy. I used the data from 1993 with the exception of Croatia for which the closest
available data were from 1998. For Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, and Slovenia I used the
1999 scores. Data missing for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. N = 14



2 3 4 5 6 7

Civil Service as % of Population



8 i

Civil Service as % of Population

Figure 3.8. N u m b e r of Civil Servants P e r Capita Over T i m e in Select C E E
Source: Nunberg (2000), O'Dwyer (2006), and SIGMA.

Czech Republic Hungary

0> 10
Q. a.

Poland Slovakia

w 6-|

moderately (in the Czech Republic) or dramatically (in Poland and Slovakia). 25 The 'quality

of bureaucracy' as measured by the International Country Risk Guide increased or remained

constant for all four countries during the time period for which we have data. 2 6 In conclusion,

employment data offer only a limited amount of information. We cannot tell whether

increases in personnel are functional or expression of political patronage. Alternatively, this

pattern may be a confirmation of Wagner's Law, which states that economic development

generates demand for greater levels of government services (Gimpelson and Triesman 2002).

However, what we can say is that in comparison with other regions (in Table 3.1), CEE civil
The Romanian newspaper "Ziarul Financiar" reported on August 19, 2005 that the number of civil ser-
vants in Romania increased by 10% since the collapse of communism.
Between 1993 and 2000, Slovakia and the Czech Republic were rated 3 (on a scale from 0 to 4, with
higher numbers indicating a better quality bureaucracy). Poland's rating jumped from 2.33 (in 1990) to 3 (in
2000). Hungary's rating also increased, from 3 (in 1993) to 3.7 (in 1997).

services do not appear to be "bloated."

3.2.2 Professionalism

In Plato's "The Statesman" government officials are weaving the future with the help of

knowledge. In CEE, their role is more limited: to formulate and implement the full range of

government programs associated with the transition to a market economy. How much

progress have governments made in transforming the communist-era, politicized bureaucracies

into professional career services focused on performance and providing services to ordinary

citizens? To assess this development, I will look at several aspects of the civil service system:

(1) requirements for entry in the civil service; (2) recruitment system; (3) career development;

(4) salary system; and (5) civil service reserves.

Prerequisites for Entry in t h e Civil Service

Personnel are a major element of administrative capacity. Only committed, well-trained and

skilled staff, in brief professional personnel, can carry out the complex functions of the

government. One avenue through which governments can increase civil service professionalism

is by imposing certain preconditions for admittance into the system. For the system to attract

the best professionals, these high standards must be accompanied by corresponding

incentives, primarily of a monetary nature.

What are the requirements for becoming a civil servant? In this respect, there is much

similarity among CEE systems. Common criteria are: (1) citizenship; 28 (2) full capacity to

act; (3) age; 29 (4) good health; (5) educational background (I discuss this in detail below); (6)

lack of criminal record; (7) absence of a prior public service dismissal; (8) professional

experience (if required by the position and generally waived for entry level positions); and (9)

other conditions set by secondary laws. 30

Bossaert and Demmke (2003) report that in Latvia there are efforts to increase the proportion of civil
servants from 16% of public sector employees to 70%.
Citizenship and language requirements are normal criteria for admittance. However, in the case of the
newly created states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, these prerequisites have a special significance, as these
states try to establish themselves as sovereign nations (Vanagunas 1999).
The minimum age is 18, except for Estonia where it is 21, for positions in the central state administra-
tion. Bulgaria and Montenegro require "full legal age." As for the maximum age, it is 62 in Lithuania and
'retirement age' in Latvia.
Some specific requirements are: (1) fulfillment of military/alternative service (Bosnia and Herzegovina
and the Czech Republic); (2) knowledge of the national language (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Ro-
mania, and Slovakia); (3) permanent residence in the country (Moldova, Romania, and Slovakia); (4) lack of

Out of this myriad of conditions, educational background and experience are the ones most

closely linked to professionalism. However, in most cases the laws are silent on the minimum

educational requirement. When it is mentioned, the standard varies: level VII education in

Bosnia and Herzegovina; high school level for managerial positions in Bulgaria; secondary

education in Estonia and Hungary; higher education in Latvia; and general/professional

education in Slovenia. 31 In a study on the Russian bureaucracy, Gimpelson (2003) noted that

the level of education drops sharply at lower levels of the bureaucratic hierarchy. While the

highest chief and leading positions in federal agencies at the federal level are almost all held

by specialists with higher education, 20% of those holding senior positions have only a

secondary specialized education. Among junior positions, the ratio is even more worrisome:

37% with higher education as opposed to 43% with secondary specialized education. Hence, it

follows that 20% do not have even a secondary specialized education, which directly conflicts

with the federal law on civil service. In contrast, in Hungary, Gajduschek found that the

proportion of civil servants with a university degree had increased from 4 1 % in 1994 to 48% in

2003 (2007: 355). 32

Prom the preceding information, there is little variation in terms of prerequisites that

would directly impact the professionalism of the cadres (or if such variation does exist, it does

not result from the prescriptions found in civil service acts, but from those established by

secondary legislation). However, the civil service systems analyzed here differ significantly in

one respect: the existence of a national school of public administration. The model for such a

school is the French Ecole Nationale D'Administration (ENA). ENA is the school where a

majority of French senior officials are instructed. Founded in 1945 by Charles de Gaulle, ENA

graduates roughly 100 students each year and was created in a move to make the recruitment

process more rational and democratic. By having a system solely based on academic

proficiency and competitive examinations, recruitment for top positions could be made more

transparent, without suspicion of political or personal preference (Vernardakis 1989).

criminal indictment before the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Herzegovina); (5)
absence of professional record in the communist regime (Latvia).
In the Czech Republic, education obtained by studies at the Political University of the Central Commit-
tee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, at the Klement Gottwald Military Political Academy, and
at political and security colleges and training institutions in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
(USSR) does not qualify as university-level education (2002 Czech Civil Service Act, article 7.7)
This may also be the consequence of a higher number of university graduates. During the communist
period, university enrollment was limited to a few dozen students for each specialization.

In an attempt to increase the professionalism of their recruits, Latvia, Poland, and

Romania have founded such institutions. In spite of its name, the Latvian School of Public

Administration is a training institute, its main functions being to "formulate civil service

training programmes, co-ordinate and ensure the process of the training of civil servants, and

formulate drafts of regulatory enactments, conceptual issues, reports, programmes and other

documents related to the training of civil servants" (2000 Civil Service Act, section 5). Civil

servants do not have to attend the school's programs before entering the civil service, a

characteristic of the French system.

The Polish National School of Public Administration is modeled after the ENA. Its

graduates are exempt from the preparatory service and enjoy preferential treatment for

nominations to become civil servants (1998 Civil Service Law, articles 27 and 29). Admission

to its program is very competitive; it recruits individuals who already hold a Master's degree

and accepts just 6% of the applicants ( h t t p : / / w w w . k s a p . g o v . p l ) . The school graduates only

about 50 students per year, which represents approximately 0.03% of the total number of civil

servants. 33 This number is significant because of the way the Polish civil service system is

designed. There are two categories of employees in the civil service: 'civil service employees'

and 'civil servants.' The latter enjoy more job protection guarantees. Graduates of the

National School of Public Administration are nominated as civil servants after graduation.

Civil service employees can become civil servants if they acquire the necessary experience and

education (graduate degree), but one can remain with the 'civil service employee' status all

throughout the duration of employment. However, by 2002, only 10% of officials had become

civil servants (Bossaert and Demmke 2003, 29).

The Romanian National School of Political and Administrative Studies has also had only

limited success. Despite its competitiveness (it has a small enrollment of about 40 students),

the school has struggled to place its graduates in desirable government posts. As an interim

measure, some graduates are awarded fellowships for internships abroad through external

assistance programs, while other graduates go into the private sector (Nunberg 1999, 89).
This calculation was made by taking into account that in 2002 employment in the civil service was at
178,700 workers.

Lustration Laws

Post-communist democracies face the challenge of coming to terms with their own past.

Perhaps the most thorny aspect of this problem is in defining the role that participants in,

collaborators with, or beneficiaries of the old regime will play in the new society. This process

of decommunization or lustration (derived from the Latin lustrace which stood for a purifying

ritual) is carried out through lustration laws. 34 The goal is to eliminate the mindset and

culture of communism by banning people who are associated with the previous regime from

elected or appointed positions in the new democratic institutions. To justify these laws,

proponents of lustration laws usually cite the concepts of justice and fairness, the practical

requirements of implementing democracy and a market economy, and public confidence in the

new governments (Stewart and Stewart 1995, 893). 35

Lustration laws, when applied, 36 had unintended consequences: they depleted the system

of expertise. Some of the opposition to a lustration law in Poland came from an

understanding that without the managers, most of those whom had a party card, building a

capitalist society was on course for failure (Stewart and Stewart 1995, 905).

It is difficult to quantify how effective these laws are. We know that the magnitude of this

effect varies from country to country. For example, in the Czech Republic by 1993, 210,000

officials had been screened (but not all were civil servants - some were in elected positions).

But in Slovakia the law remained dormant for most of its existence (Ellis 1996). In Estonia,

the government introduced in 1992 a program called "Purge the Place," designed to replace

those civil servants who had entered into service during the Soviet regime (Sootla and Roots

1999, 252). By the spring of 1994, 73% of Estonian top officials had held their positions for

less than three years and altogether 37% of civil servants had been replaced (Sootla and Roots

1999, 240), 37

Are systems that have adopted lustration laws better off in the long term than those that
Lustration laws are not specific to post-communist regimes. They were employed in post-Nazi Germany
and today in Iraq, in the process of de-Baathification.
The international community generally condemns lustration laws because they go against the principles
of freedom of expression, freedom of political belief, and freedom from discrimination, as well as disregarding
the ex post facto application of the law (that is, the principle that acts committed before the adoption of a law
criminalizing them are not crimes).
Lustration laws were not applied with the same fervor in all countries. Thuir adoption and execution de-
pended primarily on how much influence the former communist elites had in the new system. For example, in
the Czech Republic the law was applied scrupulously, whereas in Romania it was mostly ignored.
Estonia does not have a lustration law per se but the rigid conditions for acquiring Estonian citizenship
have the same effect.

Table 3.2. Career v s . Position Civil Service S y s t e m s .

Career S y s t e m Position System

1. Recruitment to low level positions 1. Recruitment at any level
2. Specific education requirements 2. Specific knowledge requirements
3. Limited recognition of private 3. Recognition of experience in the
sector experience private sector
4. Remuneration system laid down 4. No seniority principle for
by statute determining pay
5. Long career in the civil service 5. Mobility between private and
public sectors
6. Work process based on rules 6. Target agreements
rather than targets

did not? The answer depends on whether these systems were able to attract capable recruits

and could afford to invest in their preparation. The advantage is a purging of past mentalities

and a legitimization of the system.

S y s t e m of R e c r u i t m e n t

Civil service systems can be organized on a classical career model (closed system), a position

model (open system), or a combination of the two. The distinguishing feature of a career

system is that applicants enter the service in the first post of a specific career path (Bossaert

and Demmke 2003). Within this career, the civil servant can then be promoted according to

the legal requirements, take up new posts, and rise through the pay scales. Career systems are

very hierarchical and characterized by long tenures. By contrast, position systems are based

on the principle of recruiting the best person for the position. Civil servants in position

systems usually have both private sector and public sector experience, easily moving between

the two domains (for a comparison of the two systems, please see Table 3.2).

Is a career model more conducive to professionalization? On the one hand, a career system

prevents patronage (at least in high level positions) and, over time, leads to the creation of a

knowledgeable and dependable labor force. On the other hand, seniority or years spent in the

civil service assures a relatively slow progression on a career path whose end is modestly

rewarding (see forthcoming discussion on compression ratios and public versus private sector

pay). Additionally, politicians find ways to circumvent career systems. For example,

Gajduschek (2007) finds that in Hungary heads of department can make arbitrary promotions

by appointing someone to a so-called "titular position" that lifts the person to a higher

pay-grade than would have been given according to seniority. 38 Similarly, Goetz and Wollman

find that in the region there "is a more or less systematic gap between ostensible legislative

intent and the practice of personnel policy" (2001b, 880).

A majority of CEE countries have adopted systems that are closer to the career based

model. 39 Figure 3.9 displays the CEE systems along a continuum, from career to position

models. At one extreme, the systems closest to the career model display career paths in which

civil servants are organized in categories or classes (A, B, C) and in which civil servants gain

advancement according to the seniority principle. At the other extreme, in the Estonian

system, the most similar to the position model, civil servants can enter the system at any

position. Bossaert and Demmke found that in 2000 30% of senior civil servants were selected

from the private sector (2003: 37). The countries in the "mixed" category display features

closer to the career model than to the position one (the greater spatial distance between the

Czech Republic and Estonia than between the other groups of countries in the figure is


How does a mixed system work? In Bosnia and Herzegovina - and the countries in its

group - positions are filled first through internal recruitment (from the same institution or

from other institutions) and only if they are not filled with existent civil servants will they be

advertised externally. In Poland, only civil servants can apply to senior positions, but

graduates of the National School of Public Administration can be appointed directly to senior

positions. Hungary and Lithuania (as previously discussed) have a special category of political

appointees - civil servants with limited tenure appointed to senior positions without having to

undergo an examination or having to fulfill an experience requirement. Finally, in the Czech

Republic former members of the government and the parliament can be appointed in

managerial positions without having to fulfill any tenure requirements.

By comparison, in a study that looked at some of the OECD countries, the World Bank

found a preference for the position model over the career model (8 out of 14 countries chose a
For analysis of similar loopholes in the Hungarian Civil Service Act, see Gyorgy (1999) and Meyer-
Sahling (2001).
The preference of one system over another is explained by each country's history and connections with
Western states. Bossaert and Demmke (2003) assert that Estonia's choice was strongly influenced by the
Nordic models (and especially by the Swedish and Finnish systems), Slovenia's choice by the Austrian and
German models, and Romania's choice by the French model.

Figure 3.9. T y p e s of Civil Service S y s t e m s .

Career System Mixed System Position System

Albania Bosnia and Poland Hungary Czech Estonia

Bulgaria Herzegovina Lithuania Republic
Moldova Croatia
Romania Montenegro
Slovakia Slovenia

position system). 4 0

The hiring procedure (either for entry level positions or for senior positions, depending on

the system) displays several similarities across the CEE cases (see Figure 3.10). Examinations

are used to test the candidates' knowledge. The examination committees are composed of

civil servants from the hiring institution (in the Czech Republic, Latvia, Macedonia, Slovakia,

and Slovenia) or civil servants and experts in the field (in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina,

and Bulgaria). 41

The introduction of the open competitive selection procedure is a decisive step towards the

creation of a transparent civil service based on the principles of equal access and merit. This

procedure permits a relatively high degree of objectivity in selecting the most capable

entrants and can offset the politicization of the civil service. Nevertheless, the competitive

selection procedure has not yet established itself as the only method. For example, the

Latvian Civil Service Act states that it is permissible not to hold an open competition for a

vacant post in the civil service, except for the position of head of a government agency, if the

government's decision with regard to the post in question is in the national interest (article

8.4). Similarly, in Lithuania, article 13 of the corresponding act provides that civil service

managers must be recruited by competition or on the basis of political (personal) trust.

The countries with a position system axe: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden,
and United Kingdom. Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, and Luxembourg have a career system.
The study is posted at
The members are appointed either by the head of the institution (e.g., Slovenia) or by both the central
organ in charge with managing the civil service and the head of the institution (e.g., Albania). The examina-
tion itself can consist of a combination of written test and oral interview (Czech Republic, Lithuania, Mon-
tenegro, and Slovenia). In some cases, it is only mentioned that a professional exam will be administered (Al-
bania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia). Only Albania presents a breakdown of the grading proce-
dure, with 70% of the final score based on the examination, and 30% based on prior qualifications, experience,
and level of education.

Figure 3.10. Hiring Sequence.
Note: Taking the oath signifies entrance into the civil service legal relationship. Civil servants are
required to take an oath in 69% of the cases. By taking the oath, they express their commitment
to respect laws and fulfill their duties. Failure to take the oath constitutes cause for termination
of employment.

Public announcement

-f -

Submission of
required documents

* - -

Verification of

~~ f ' "'



Selection of Appeal of the
candidate decision

Probationary period


Article 27 of the Slovene Act stipulates that officials are to be selected by means of a public
selection procedure, unless any other statutory provisions specify otherwise.
One important aspect of the recruitment system is who makes the appointment decision.42
Needless to say, selection is crucial in any personnel system and this arrangement alone could
be enough to determine how politicized the system is. At one end of the spectrum, with a
system less susceptible to politicization, are Croatia and Slovakia, in which the examination
results are binding: whoever has the highest score is declared the winner of the competition.
In some countries, the decision of appointment can be appealed. Such appeals can be introduced with the
Civil Service Commission within 30 days (Albania), Civil Service board within 15 days (Croatia), State Civil
Service Administration within 7 days (Latvia), Civil Service Agency (Macedonia), and the appellate commis-
sion (Slovenia; judicial review of the appellate commission's decision is done by the administrative court). In
Bulgaria candidates can appeal only the decision to be admitted to the competition (but not the decision of
the examination committee), while in Montenegro civil servants have only the "right to insight into the docu-
mentation of the public announcement" (2005 Civil Service Act of Montenegro, article 27).

At the other end of the spectrum, we have the situation in which the examination committee

puts together a list of the best three candidates based on the results of the examination and

previous qualifications, and either the direct superior (Albania and Estonia) or the head of

the institution (Latvia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Slovenia) decides on who will be

awarded the position. 43

To ensure that newly appointed civil servants possess the necessary skills and knowledge to

be successful in their positions, all civil systems under analysis here contain a probationary

period. The length of the probationary period varies, by system, from 4 to 12 months. This

program offers the state extra time to assess the recruit's professional skills, before

guaranteeing permanent tenure. 4 4

The conundrum now is to what extent these legal provisions are applied in practice. In a

study on the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Hungary, Nunberg (2001) found that the

development of merit-based practices was at best embryonic. Even where formal provisions

for merit-based recruitment and promotion existed, they were inconsistently applied. Open,

competitive recruitment that relied on external advertisements was utilized in all three cases,

but it was not uniformly required. Finally, within countries, recruitment practices varied

significantly from one agency to another (Nunberg 2000, 21-23).

Career D e v e l o p m e n t

1. Training Programs

Modern personnel management methods were completely unfamiliar to communist

bureaucracies. Except for brief instructions, "personnel officers received virtually no

professional training" (Nunberg 1999, 33). Training is vital for cadres that have spent much of

their working life in a hierarchical command structure where there was little room for

independent decision-making or empirically-based policy analysis. Old and new employees

require not only a shift in attitudes about government service and performance, and political

neutrality, but also an improvement of their knowledge. As these countries aspire to, or are

already members of, the European Union (EU), technical and policy skills in economics,

finance, management, law, and informatics need continuous strengthening and updating to
For the rest of the countries in my sample, it is not mentioned who makes the appointment.
Slovakia has added an extra step to achieve this goal - employees first undergo a "preparatory service"
which can vary from 6 to 24 months, according to the level of education and the future position.

meet international standards.

Successful civil services throughout the world use training programs to develop skilled

cadres for the public administration. Similarly, drafters of the civil service laws expect an

equivalent effect in their respective countries: all civil service acts analyzed contain a right

and an obligation to participate in training programs while in service, at the expense of the

state. 4 5 In several countries, special institutes were created to design and implement

consistent training programs: Albania (Training Institute of Public Administration), Bulgaria

(Institute for Public Administration and European Integration), Czech Republic (State

Administration Institute), Latvia (School of Public Administration), 4 6 Lithuania (Institute of

Public Administration), and Romania (National Training Institute for Public Administration).
Overall, the trend is to tie training programs to professional development. 48

Training policy in most systems is centrally organized and falls within the responsibility of

the government, directly or through the aforementioned training institutes. However, in

practice training courses are mostly ad hoc and episodic, most occurring at the local level

with external donor financing. Thus the training program has been driven neither by an

overarching vision of training goals for government nor by a systematic assessment of existing

skills and needs, as exemplified in Romania's public service (Nunberg 1999, 90-91).

Data on the resources devoted to training and on the number of employees who undergo

training are very scarce. In Poland, between 1992 and 1996 the total spending on training as

a percentage of total spending on wages and derivatives increased from 0.11% to 3.18%

(SIGMA 1997c). During the same period the number of employees increased by 40%. In

Slovakia between 1993 and 1995 the budget for training programs more than doubled

(SIGMA 1997c), while the number of employees increased by only 13%. These states appear

to be committed to improving the skills of their personnel.

A distinction can be made between three types of training: (1) training prior to recruitment (e.g., Poland,
where prospective civil servants attend the courses of the National School of Public Administration); (2) gen-
eral introductory training (the probationary period previously discussed); and (3) in-service training, whose
role is to update civil servants' skills and knowledge in order to increase their effectiveness. I am focusing here
on this last type of training.
Although called a "school," this institution fulfills the role of a training institute.
It is debatable how effective these institutes are in raising the professionalism in the civil service. For
example, the Albanian Institute has been characterized as offering courses that do not relate closely enough to
concerns in the field (SIGMA 1997a, 22).
Civil servants have the right to take a leave of absence for the duration of the training programs. In Croa-
tia, for example, civil servants can be on leave for up to one year's time, during which they receive a basic
salary. In Estonia, one can take three months every five years to attend training courses, while in the Czech
Republic civil servants are entitled to only six days annually for training.

In Estonia, budget regulations require each ministry to allocate no less t h a n 3% of its

wages and salaries budgets to training. However, this standard was not met in 1997, when

spending on training averaged roughly 2.6% of the wage bill and in 1998 it dropped to 1.9%.

(Nunberg 2000, 194). In Lithuania, each institution has a "budgetary envelope" of between

1% and 5% of salary payroll for training (SIGMA 2003a). From 2001 to 2002, the number of

employees attending the courses of the Institute of Public Administration more than doubled

(from 2,700 in 2001 to 6,156 in 2002; unfortunately we do not know what percentage of the

civil service employees these numbers represent).

Just how effective are these programs? In the short-term they seem to have little impact:

"drawbacks in preparing and implementing legislation may be due to inadequate professional

training in individual bodies" (SIGMA 2003d, 8; also see the SIGMA Country Reports

1996-2007) , 4 9 In the long-term, time will tell.

2. Performance Evaluation

Performance appraisals are periodic evaluations of the civil servants' compliance with their

duties and success in carrying out their tasks. 5 0 They usually take place annually (in Latvia

and Poland they take place every two years, while in Moldova every three years). 5 1 In general,

the direct superior performs the evaluation. 52

The result of the evaluation is taken into account for promotions, positive appraisals

constituting a necessary condition for vertical movement. 53 An expression of meritocracy,

The lack of resources may explain the failure of training as a means to increase professionalism. For ex-
ample, the Croat Training Center was found to be "seriously underfunded" and relying "heavily on bilateral
donor funding" (SIGMA 2007a, 4). Similarly in Bulgaria, the Institute for Public Administration and Euro-
pean Integration was "confronted with serious problems, such as the scarcity of financial and staff resources"
and an inability "to meet all training requests and to deliver training of adequate quality" (SIGMA 2006d, 4).
What specific factors are considered in evaluating civil servants? For example, in the Czech Republic, the
"service appraisal of the public servant shall include appraisal of a) retaining loyalty to the state and failure to
abuse the position of a public servant, b) proper performance of service as regards the correctness, expediency
and independence thereof, c) compliance with the service discipline, and d) the results of education" (2002
Czech Civil Service Act, article 195.2). In Macedonia, the evaluation is based on "data regarding the profes-
sional knowledge and skills at work, efforts, results achieved, creativity and consciousness when performing an
official task" (2000 Civil Service Act of the Republic of Macedonia, article 79)
In Estonia, in addition to an annual evaluation, once every three years civil servants are assessed by a
competition and evaluation committee, and the results of this evaluation are entered in the employee's per-
sonal file.
By exception, in Latvia the minister responsible for the public administration establishes an evaluation
commission, while in Moldova there is a certification board set up by central authorities.
The ranking scale can be: (1) a five-point scale (outstanding, excellent, good, satisfactory, and unsatisfac-
tory) as in Croatia, Romania, and Slovakia; (2) a four-point scale (excellent, good, satisfactory, unsatisfactory)
as in Montenegro and Slovenia; or (3) a three-point scale (outstanding, satisfactory, and unsatisfactory) as in
Lithuania and Macedonia.

performance appraisals can act both as a carrot (allowing for early promotions in case of

positive assessments) 54 and a stick (denying underperformers access to higher positions, or

even demoting or dismissing them). 5 5

Civil servants with good performance are rewarded not only by being promoted to a higher

position/pay scale, but also by being given an award. The nature of the awards varies from

symbolic (notes of appreciation) to financial (valuable gift or money). 5 6

These periodic checks on civil servants' performance are effective in raising the level of

professionalism in the system only if they are abided by. However, this is not always the case.

For example, in Montenegro, in 2007 (three years after the introduction of the system),

performance appraisals had not been used in all ministries and administrative bodies: by

some calculations, only 30% of institutions had carried out a performance appraisal and the

performance evaluation of managers had not been evaluated at all (SIGMA 2007c, 11).

Similarly, in Bulgaria job evaluations were non-existent in 2005 (SIGMA 2005b, 17). By

contrast, in Estonia by the end of 2000, 8 1 % of all institutions had conducted evaluations of

all civil servants with more than three years of service. However, "promotions and bonuses

[were] very loosely linked to the appraisal system, although superiors [were] encouraged to

take the appraisal results into account when considering promotions and salary increases"

(SIGMA 2003f, 12). In Croatia researchers found that the new appraisal system failed to

change appraisals from a routine exercise to a career-development instrument (SIGMA 2007a,

19), while in Romania, the absence of a job evaluation methodology led to an arbitrary

determination of salaries (SIGMA 2006h, 5). In Macedonia, by 2006, evaluations were

customary, but the appraisal system opened the door to abuses by giving considerable

discretion to managers in allotting career supplements (SIGMA 2006g, 5).

The lack of consistency can lead to patronage. In Hungary, officials rated "outstanding"

can receive bonuses whose upper limit is not determined. A 2001 amendment limiting such
Usually civil servants still have to accrue a certain experience before being promoted. The time spent in a
position varies from six months in Estonia to three years in Bulgaria and Romania.
For example, in Romania one cannot be promoted in the year following the one for which a civil servant
was rated 'unsatisfactory' or 'satisfactory.' Two consecutive negative evaluations lead to dismissal from the
civil service in all cases.
The systems that set up awards are: Bulgaria (diploma, silver and gold siga of honour of the respective
administration, money, and material prize), Czech Republic (written approbation and material prize), Estonia
(monetary award and valuable gift), Hungary (honorary titles), Lithuania (note of appreciation, personal gift,
and a lump sum of money), Macedonia (monetary award), Montenegro (exact rewards are to be determined by
secondary legislation), and Slovakia (financial reward and material gift).

bonuses to the equivalent of six monthly salaries was removed in 2003 (SIGMA 2003e, 13).

Such a wide and unrestricted discretion may easily lead to arbitrariness in determining

individual salaries and patronage-driven practices, endangering the impartiality and

objectivity of the system.

In conclusion, every civil service system regulates a performance evaluation regime.

However, as the SIGMA reports show, these appraisals either are not carried out, or, if they

are, in a majority of cases they are a formality or they encourage arbitrariness and patronage.

3. Tenure and Turnover Rates

It is important to know the educational background and career path of (especially) civil

servants because of the influence they have on the policy-making process. For example,

Aberbach et al. (1981) demonstrated that the cross-national differences in educational

background and career paths of bureaucratic elites in Western democracies affected both their

attitudes and their influence on the overall policy process. Meltsner (1976) showed that

economists, who are prominent in the policy-making process in the United States, prefered

particular policy outcomes. Laegreid and Olsen (1984) also found that the older a senior

bureaucrat was at appointment, and the more "traditional" their training, the more resistant

they were to policy changes. Meanwhile, Caroll (1990), Gregory (1991), and Pusey (1991)

argue that the increasing levels of mobility among Canadian, New Zealand, and Australian

civil servants have impeded their ability to provide substantive policy advice in complex

technical areas. Despite this plethora of evidence on the Western systems, there is no similar

discussion for the CEE systems (or, for that matter, for any new democracy).

There is little information on turnover rates in CEE systems. Using individual ministry

estimates, Nunberg approximates the turnover rate in the Czech Republic, Estonia, and

Hungary at a level between 7 and 11% (2000, 13). These figures are not extremely high by

international attrition standards, 5 7 but may reflect an unacceptable drain of scarce skills to

alternative, better-paying labor markets.

High levels of attrition are to be expected and may even be desirable in countries where

profound renovation of civil service cadres is sought. By this argument, we can expect high
Nunberg reports turnover rates of 2-3% for Canada, 4% for Netherlands, 10% for Sweden, and 4.9% in
the United States (2000, 42). The turnover rate in Prance was 2.2% in 2001 (Gajduschek 2007 and OECD

Table 3.3. Civil Service Turnover R a t e s in Estonia in 1997.
Source: State Chancellary of Estonia

Position Turnover rate

Higher officials 10.4

Senior officials 15.9

Junior officials 14.0

Average 13.43

attrition rates in the first years of democracy, with the slope leveling off in the later years.

The Czech Ministry of Finance estimated its turnover in 1993-1994 at 20-25%, while for 1998

turnover decreased to 11%. But in 1997 the Czech Ministry of Culture reported a staff

turnover of 20%, much higher than the one reported by established civil service systems

(Nunberg 2000, 125 and 166). By comparison, in Estonia, the average turnover rate for the

entire system was 13.43% in 1997 (see Table 3.3).

What is an "acceptable" level of staff turnover? Staff turnover must strike a reasonable

balance between the need to adjust and update staffing skills to continuously evolving

requirements and the expenses associated with recruitment and loss of knowledgeable staff.

The million dollar question is: what kind of civil servants leave the system? In Estonia,

Nunberg finds that 50% of the staff trained in programs sponsored by the European Union

has left the civil service (2000, 265). 58 Similarly, in Hungary a local consulting firm (Koz

Politika) estimated the turnover rate for civil servants at 8.9% per year, with higher turnover

for employees in managerial positions (15%). Unfortunately, "turnover rate is highest

amongst young, educated staff, which implies that the turnover rate amongst future managers

is dangerously high" (Nunberg 2000, 282). 59

High turnover rates can also be indicative of politicization. 60 In Hungary, Gajduschek

The conclusion is similar in Hungary: 80% of the staff trained in English by European Union sponsored
programs between 1992 and 1995 had left the civil service by 1996 (Nunberg 2000, 348).
To encourage retention, a Polish civil servant who has been in the service for over 20 years receives an
anniversary bonus. The bonus varies from 75% after 20 years of service to 400% of the monthly remuneration
after 45 years of service.
There is anecdotal evidence in this sense, but little data (see for example Verheijen 2000). The sentiment
is shared by civil servants themselves. Sootla and Roots (1999) report that a survey in Estonia found that
44.3% of civil servants did not expect to remain in office after a change of coalition. Moroever, 20.8% of civil
servants supported political appointments (1999, 246).

(2007) found that 76% of managers in the central administration and 68% of those in the

local administration had been in their given position for only three years or less. If politically

induced dismissals occur, they are more likely to characterize the higher echelons of the civil

service. King (2002) reports that 94% percent of the civil servants she interviewed in Estonia,

Lithuania, Poland, and the Czech Republic affirmed that civil servants were usually replaced

after the formation of a new government. 61 Similarly, in Macedonia, legal provisions

forbidding the appointment or dismissal of managerial civil servants during election times

were often disregarded (SIGMA 2007b).

The disrespect of these provisions is in itself an indication of the strong politicization

existing within the administration, with many undesirable consequences: lack of

professionalism and of neutrality, absence of responsiveness of civil servants, and instability in

the administration due to turnover that is dependent on party membership. 62 The policy

process is encumbered and resources have been spent without any concrete result. 88% of the

respondents in King's (2002) study reported incidences of aborted policies or abrupt policy

reversals arid 69% saw a direct link to personnel changes in key civil service positions. Also,

the public's perception of the civil service will be negatively impacted.

Salary S y s t e m

The professionalization of the civil service presupposes that the system must be able to

attract the best professionals. To achieve this goal, salaries in the public sector must be

competitive with the ones in the private sector. For example, the Bulgarian act specifies a

"guaranteed minimum:" the basic salary "for the lowest job position foreseen for a civil

servant cannot be less than three times the minimum working salary for the country" (1999

Bulgarian Civil Service Act, article 68). 6 3

The monthly pay is generally composed of basic salary (calculated according to one's rank

and/or grade), supplements (for length of service, complexity of work, official rank, etc.) and

bonuses (for working in dangerous conditions, work performed during holidays or weekends,
Gy6rgy (1999) states that turnover rates have decreased in Hungary after the adoption of the civil service
law, but no comparative data are presented.
In Croatia, SIGMA recorded more than 2,000 dismissals after the 2003 parliamentary elections (SIGMA
To increase the appeal of a civil service career, in Hungary, once a year, civil servants receive one extra
salary (the thirteenth salary), disbursed in January of the following year (1997 Hungarian Civil Service Act,
article 49).

Table 3.4. Central Government Wages Across R e g i o n s in t h e 1990s.
Source: Schiavo-Campo et al. 1997

Average Wage Ratio of Public

Wages as % of
Region as Multiple of to Private Sector
GDP/capita Wages
6.7 5.7 1.0
(21 countries)
4.7 3.0 0.8
(14 countries)
Eastern Europe &:
Former USSR 3.7 1.3 0.7
(21 countries)
Middle East and
North Africa 9.8 3.4 1.3
(8 countries)
4.5 1.6 0.9
(16 countries)
Average 5.4 3.0 0.8

overtime, foreign language proficiency, etc.).

Before discussing whether salaries in the public sector are competitive with those in the

private sector in CEE, I want to briefly touch upon differences in pay policies across the

world. It is difficult to make international comparisons of public wages due to data scarcity.

In a cross-sectional study that reports wages as a percentage of GDP, Schiavo-Campo et al.

(1997) warn that the data should be taken with a grain of salt. The main findings, reported

in Table 3.4, indicate that the heaviest fiscal weight of the central government wage bill

(please note that this data are only for wages in the central government) is in the Middle East

and North Africa (9.8% of GDP) and the lowest in Eastern Europe and the Former USSR

(3.7% of GDP). When measured as a multiple of per capita GDP, central government wages

appear the highest in Africa. But the authors warn that this result is most certainly

corrupted by the underestimation of informal production (which thus deflates the value of the

GDP) and by a preponderance of franc-zone countries in the sample (which have much higher

salaries than in the rest of the continent). Conversely, the relatively low multiplier for the

OECD countries is explained by high employment in the civil sector (see Table 3.1) and by

smaller skill differentials between public employees and the rest of the working population.

Thus, regional generalizations are misleading. A better image of the wage policy can be

obtained by looking at individual country data. For example, in the Czech Republic the

central government wage bill as percentage of GDP decreased by 16.6% between 1994 and

1996, while employment in the same period increased by 10%. 64

Are public sector salaries competitive compared to private sector wages? Nunberg (2000)

finds that in the Czech Republic public sector salaries represent 30 to 80% of the salaries paid

in the private sector for similar positions. Heads of institutions and departments receive only

about 30% of what they would make in the private sector. In the lower ranks, civil servants

can make up to 80% of the wage paid for a similar position in the private sector (Nunberg

2000, 72). This means that if civil service jobs are attractive at lower positions, one would

have no interest in a career in the system as the salary ratio declines in the upper echelons

(this may explain the high turnover rates at managerial level). 65

Pay policies undermine the professionalization of the system. In the Czech Republic,

Estonia, and Hungary civil service pay is compressed and noncompetitive. The compression

ratio of top to bottom salaries is a serious constraint on governments' ability to attract and

retain qualified personnel at the middle and higher levels (see Figure 3.11 for a comparison

between compression ratios in CEE and several Western countries) . 6 6

Bonuses and supplements represent a high percentage of the final salary, a particularity of

these systems (see Table 3.5 for details on the bonuses set out in civil service laws). For

example, in Estonia, bonuses and supplements represent up to 30% of the salary (Nunberg

2000, 187). The civil service acts generally impose upper limits on these variable salary

components to limit the discretionary power of the awarding authority (usually the civil

servant's direct superior). 68 This is not a generalizable finding. For example, the Hungarian

law allows heads of institutions to determine wages for some employees differently from the
The data for these calculations come from O'Dwyer (2006, 209) and Nunberg (2000, 87).
The situation was slightly better in Hungary, where in 1997 civil service pay was "only" 10% less than the
private sector average (Nunberg 2000, 281).
Low compression ratios may be the consequence of a regime's preference for an egalitarian salary struc-
By some reports, compression ratios reach as high as 7 in Hungary when Oiie takes into account al-
lowances and supplements, but this information was not captured in the data Nunberg used.
For example, in Bosnia and Herzegovina a civil servant promoted to a higher position after positive per-
formance appraisals "shall be entitled to a salary increase not higher than 30% of the salary established for
that position" and the "salary shall be raised by 0.5% for each started year of service, and not higher than a
total 20%" (2003 Civil Service Act of Bosnia and Herzegovina, article 38). Similarly in Lithuania, bonuses can-
not exceed 55% of the salary, while additional pays cannot exceed 60%, and combined bonuses and additional
pays may not exceed 70% of the basic salary (2002 Lithuanian Civil Service Law, articles 23, 25, and 26). The
bonus for length of service in Poland is 5% of the basic monthly salary after the first 5 years of employment,
and 1% for each subsequent year up to a total of 20% (1998 Polish Civil Service Act, article 82).

Figure 3 . 1 1 . Compression Ratios in Select C E E Countries.
Source: Nunberg (2000)68

1 6
| W - "
u sua
2 ;

Czech Republic Estonia Hungary France Germany Netherlands United Kingdom United States

regular pay-table system. The rationale behind this rule is to attain the services of

well-qualified professionals who otherwise would not accept a civil service position for the

wage they would earn according to the pay-table. Unfortunately, the law offers discretionary

powers to managers by offering no procedural rule. Consequently, the organization head can

provide anyone with an exceptionally high wage (Gajduschek 2007). 69 Similarly, in Poland

"compensation management remains decentralized, with considerable managerial discretion

but with little transparency and few links to merit or performance' (Nunberg 1999, 35).

Bonuses and supplements can have a dual effect. On the one hand, they increase the low

basic salaries, thus making civil service positions more attractive. On the other hand, they

encourage clientelism because the civil servant's direct superior (or the head of the

institution) has discretionary power in deciding to whom and how these bonuses and

supplements are allocated.

Several civil service acts mention the right to pension, an attractive element of a career in

government service. For example, to encourage tenure in public service, the Estonian civil

service law stipulates that pensions increase according to one's length of service: by 10% for

10 to 15 years in service and by 50% for more than 30 years of service). Several other civil
The personal wage was abolished for only central government organizations in 2001, yet it still exists in

Table 3.5. Salary B o n u s e s .
Note: The salary structure is left to secondary legislation in the case of Croatia, Estonia, Latvia,
Montenegro, and Slovenia

Bonus Type Country

Unspecified Romania
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Length of service
Length of service
Working conditions
Work on holidays/night-time
Czech Republic
Scientific degree/extra skill
Training a candidate
Foreign language
Personal extra pay

service acts (Hungary, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia) specify civil

servants' right to pension, but no details are given. Demmke and Bossaert (2003) assert that

this omission is intentional and is explained by the financial difficulties these transitioning

states are facing.

A guaranteed right to pension can represent a powerful incentive for a career in the civil

service, especially if more countries switch to a private pensions system. However, the amount

of one's pension depends on the salary obtained during service and as long as salaries remain

uncompetitive in comparison to the private sector, the right to pension can do little in

attracting and retaining the best employees.

Just how unattractive do low salaries make a civil service position? In February 2008, the

Romanian newspaper "Evenimentul" disclosed that an entry-level employee in the local

administration earned 70% of the salary of a person working as a street sweeper.

Consequently, some positions in the local administration have remained unoccupied for the

past 17 years.

Low comparative salaries are not conducive to a professional civil service not only because

they fail to lure and retain skilled personnel, but also because they create an incentive for civil

servants to accept outside payments in exchange for their services (i.e., corruption). The low

compression ratios favor corruption at higher levels in the administration.

Civil Service R e s e r v e s

Lastly, in connection with the professionalism dimension, I would like to comment briefly on

the establishment of a reserve corp of civil servants from which organizations can select future

employees. Such a system is characteristic to Estonia, Hungary, and Moldova. In Estonia and

Hungary the names of civil servants who have been dismissed for reasons not imputable to

them (such as restructuring or closing of the institution) are maintained in a central register

for a certain period of time. If vacancies occur during this time, the positions are offered first

to the persons on the reserve lists. By contrast, in Moldova the reserve lists comprise the

names of the civil servants endorsed for promotion.

While designed to ensure that dismissed civil servants find some other appropriate position

(and thus to keep skilled staff in the civil service), the Hungarian reserve system does not

work smoothly. One problem is that the law still gives organization heads arbitrary power to

decide whether to appoint a civil servant from the reserve list or to hire someone else. This

may explain why, in 2003, only 29 out of 1,373 civil servants placed on the reserve list found

new positions in the public administration. For reference, in the same year, 7,348 new civil

servants were appointed (Gajduchek 2007, 351).

3.2.3 I n d e p e n d e n c e from External Influence

The civil service has to meet two somewhat contradictory requirements. On one hand, it is

responsible for fulfilling goals set up by the ruling political party. On the other hand, it has to

provide politicians with professional, unbiased advice and expertise, both in policy making

and implementation (Bekke and van der Meer 2001). This duality of requirements is reflected

in two polar "classical" models of civil service systems. The merit system, from Weber's

perspective (1947 and 1968), emphasizes professionalism. In that context, politicization is

considered a negative factor, since it means that political aspects prevail over professional

ones. According to Weber, ideally, political will should be conveyed by the party in power to

the administration through channels other than direct political control over the civil service.

The opposite civil service system model is the spoils system that envisages civil service

positions as spoils of war for the ruling party. This arrangement allows for direct political

control over administrative personnel to ensure that the political will is implemented without

any bureaucratic distortion. 70 However, the experience of the United States, which subscribed

to this model throughout the 19 t h century, revealed the negative effects of this arrangement:

widespread corruption and weak administrative capacity.

Prom the late nineteenth century until the 1980s, the merit system was dominant in

modern public administrative systems. Since then, the New Public Management (NPM)

movement has challenged the merit system for its rigidity and its relative unresponsiveness to

organizational efficiency.71 However, NPM supporters hardly ever analyze the impact of merit

system deregulation on the politicization of public administration and its potential negative

results (Peters and Pierre, 2001).

The main goal of a civil service act is to confer civil servants special guarantees that will

insulate them from external pressures in general, and, more specifically, from political

interference. In this respect, the laws contain an extensive list of rights and guarantees.

Rights of Civil Servants

One of the most effective ways to insulate civil servants from external pressures (political or of

any other nature) is by guaranteeing them appointments for an indefinite period of time. Civil

servants have the right to unlimited tenure in all CEE civil service systems I examine, with the

exception of Macedonia (for an extensive list of the rights conferred on civil servants, please

see Appendix B). This is a positive element for reducing the politicization in the civil service.

In an emerging democracy, such as those in CEE countries, institutions are created,

restructured, and closed down at an impressive rate. Civil servants should not be vulnerable

to such institutional changes. However, the legal provisions are not reassuring. With the

exception of the Hungarian law, no civil service act refers to mass work-force cuts, which

leaves civil servants vulnerable to arbitrary dismissals. 72

The reasoning behind the spoils system is reviewed by Raadschelders and Rutgers (1996, 82).
NPM advocates the deregulation of the merit civil service system. NPM enthusiasts believe that merit
system rules are too rigid, and thus, do not allow managers to manage. They believe that the merit system,
like several other requisites of the old public administration, creates barriers to the effective and efficient func-
tioning of the public sphere (Peters and Pierre 2001).
"Mass work-force cuts" are denned as a reduction of at least 10% of the nvmber of employees. Prior to
making such a decision, the Minister of Internal Affairs must convene the Public Officials' Interest-Conciliation
Forum at which representatives of the employing body and the employees negotiate the possible methods and
means of avoiding the cuts. Prior to the negotiations, the negotiating parties must be informed on: "a) the
reasons for the scheduled mass work-force cut; b) the number of public officials concerned in the work-force
cut; c) the number of employees of public administration agencies involved in the work-force cuts with respect

Dismissal procedures seem to meet the standards of a career system, with cases in which a

civil servant may be laid off being described in a detailed manner (see Appendix B for an

extensive list of circumstances under which the employment relationship is terminated).

Nonetheless, there are two circumstances that undermine the tenure guarantee:

1. Dismissals for incompetence

2. Dismissals in case of restructuring or liquidation of the institution

Civil servants may be dismissed in the case of reorganization or reduction of staff numbers,

abolition of the organization or its tasks, or ineptitude. The latter must be documented by

one personal evaluation marked "unsatisfactory." The threat of an arbitrary decision is

especially high in cases of reorganization and ineptitude, since organization heads make these

judgments. The only legal guarantee against arbitrariness is that the former civil servant may

sue the government if he/she can prove that the dismissal was unfair and/or its reasoning was

false. It may take several years until the court reaches a decision. Meanwhile, the former civil

servant has to pay for lawyers and other expenses. Not surprisingly, in Hungary, only a few

persons laid-off from well-paid managerial positions have so far sued the government.

Incidentally, most of them won their cases (SIGMA 2006d). Gajduschek (2007) reports that,

as a result, the practice of dismissal from managerial positions has changed in Hungary. The

typical way of laying off a manager these days is through a "common agreement" between the

civil servant and the government. Since the law allows a common agreement but does not

limit the amount paid to the former civil servant from public money, the amount is usually

high enough to silence potential whistleblowers.

To prevent this kind of abuse, some systems have special steps that must be carried out

before a civil servant is dismissed. In cases of restructuring, civil servants are generally offered

a similar position in another office (of equal or lower rank) and if such a position is not

available, they are dismissed (by exception, the Estonian law expressly forbids dismissals via

reorganization). In case of liquidation when the office has a legal successor, the new body

inherits the existing employees. However, if there is no legal successor, and in the absence of a

vacancy in the civil service, employees are still dismissed.

to the period preceding the decision; d) the proposed time-schedule for the execution of the work-force cut;
and e) the criteria for the selection of public officials involved in the work-force cut" (1992 Hungarian Civil
Service Act, article 17/ B).

Table 3.6. Guarantees Against Arbitrary Dismissal.
Note: According to civil service acts, civil servants placed off-duty are entitled to a certain per-
centage of their monthly salary for a specified period of time. Secondary legislation may offer
additional guarantees.

Country Priority at Severance Placement Successor must Early
employment pay off-duty assume employees retirement
Bosnia and
/ / /
Croatia / /
Estonia / /
Hungary /
Latvia /
Lithuania /
Moldova / /
Montenegro /
Slovakia /
Slovenia /

What would constitute an additional protection mechanism for civil servants against

unreasonable dismissals? Laws can confer several types of safeguards (see Table 3.6). In

Croatia, the cost of severance pay (which amounts to a minimum of three months salary) acts

as a deterrent for the government against termination of service (SIGMA 2003d, 19). The

absence of such guarantees leaves wide room for abuse: in Bulgaria dismissals based on

individual judgments (e.g., performance appraisals) were characterized as arbitrary and the

possibilities to challenge such dismissal decisions were legally limited (SIGMA 2006d, 4).

However, regulations are not necessarily an assurance that arbitrariness will not creep in.

International observers found that in Bulgaria (SIGMA2005b, 9) and Hungary (SIGMA

2003e, 15) dismissals had a discretionary nature, even though these systems contain provisions

similar to the ones in Croatia. See also the related discussion on politically motivated

dismissals in the section on "Tenure and Turnover Rates."

3.2.4 Transparency

Having a good connection with key decision makers is often considered a valuable asset

because it can be used to facilitate the exchange of bribes and gifts for favors and services. A

connection with a highly ranked public official may be abused, depending on the context: to

buy a job, to smuggle goods or to destroy criminal evidence. In organizations, one may

influence decisions on promotions or pay raises by building a connection with an upper-layer


Besides this network of connections, another potentially important determinant of

corruption in an organization is the degree of transparency, or the lack thereof. When the

decision making process is completely impenetrable, corrupt behavior can hardly be detected.

At the other extreme, under full transparency, decisions can easily be verified. Connections

cannot be abused in a fully transparent organization. Legal and corruption experts and

organization theorists associate a higher degree of transparency with a lower level of

corruption (Klitgaard 1997). In an affiliated effort, the vast informal public administration

literature on transparency focuses on how transparency can be achieved and how factors that

limit transparency can be surmounted (see for example Bac 1996 and 1998, Woodhouse 1997).

The civil service acts contain very few regulations that would ensure transparency in the

system. This scarcity of information is understandable considering the general character of

the law. The scope of these provisions is limited to general duties: to serve and assist the

public, to perform activities in an impartial manner, to provide information to the public, and

to not seek or accept any gains for fulfilling these duties (for a complete list of the duties,

please see Appendix B). Based on the acts alone it is impossible to say anything about the

transparency of the decision-making process itself.73

What we can assess by analyzing these laws is the transparency of the recruitment process.

At face value, these systems are transparent, with vacancies being promoted in (local and/or

central) newspapers, official gazettes, or in designated locations (institutional bulletins) (see

Table 3.7). Despite these procedural guarantees, Nunberg (1999) reports that the Romanian

system creates only an appearance of transparency. Even though vacancy announcements are

published in the press, the decision-making process is decentralized, making it less likely to
The issue of lack of transparency in the allocation of bonuses and the determination of promotions was
discussed in the sections "Salary system" and "Career development," respectively.

Table 3.7. P u b l i c i t y P r o c e d u r e for Vacant Positions.
Note: The blank boxes indicate that no information was given in the law

Who makes Where is the When is it

the announcement? vacancy announced? announced?
Department of
Albania 2 newspapers 30 days
Public Administration
Bosnia and Agency for Civil Official Gazette and
30-90 days
Herzegovina Service 3 newspapers
1 central or local
Bulgaria 30 days
Croatia public announcement
public announcement
Estonia State Gazette 14 days
Ministry of Internal Ministry's official
Affairs journal
Latvia Official Gazette 20-30 days
Macedonia 2 newspapers
Human Resources
Montenegro Management
head of Civil Service Bulletin
institutions at the institution
Romania 30 days
Slovakia public press 21 days
Official Gazette
or in a newspaper or
Employment Service
of Slovenia

have a transparent system (for more details, see subsection 3.2.2).

Yet how willing are civil servants to be transparent about their work? SIGMA found that

the Slovak civil servants' mentality favors secrecy and confidentiality, and that the tendency

to wrongly apply the civil service legislation renders the administration non-transparent

(SIGMA 2003b, 8). By contrast, the Lithuanian civil service was rated "more open in this

regard than other countries, including EU Member States" (SIGMA 2003a, 4).

3.2.5 Accountability

Institutional checks to ensure administrative accountability are an indispensable component of

an advanced administrative system. There are two different aspects of the accountability


Institutional arrangements to hold public servants accountable for their actions (by the

state and by citizens)

Institutional arrangements holding agencies responsible for implementing the policies

and delivering the services entrusted to their care 74

The civil service acts do not address this latter issue, so I will focus on the means of holding

civil servants accountable. I look at three aspects: (1) incompatibilities and conflict of interest

provisions; (2) obligations to disclose assets; and (3) commitments to impose disciplinary


Incompatibilities and Conflict of Interest Regulations

Provisions on incompatibilities and conflict of interest are relevant because legal and moral

standards governing public life could otherwise be circumvented or subdued whenever

individual or affinity group interests stand higher. While rights protect the employee,

incompatibilities insulate the institution from those activities of the employees that may

undermine the goals of the civil service.

By law, civil servants are prohibited from (1) exercising any gainful activity except those of

a scientific, pedagogical, publishing, literary or artistic nature; 7 5 (2) occupying a position that

would put them in direct hierarchical relation (of leadership or subordination) with a relative;
76 77
(3) being a member of the directing or control body of a political party; (4) starting a

business that would operate in the same area of activity as the one in which he/she is
In this respect, Nunberg (1999) reports that in Romania, parliamentary review functions as a mechanism
of cross-system accountability. A parliamentary committee on public administration, composed of 26 members
(12 appointed by the opposition and 14 by the ruling party), reviews and amends legislation regarding central
and local government institutions. Additionally, the Court of Accounts is charged with overseeing the forma-
tion, management, and use of the financial resources of the government and the public sector (1999, 64).
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary (in the case of senior officials),
Moldova, Romania, and Slovakia.
This restriction applies in Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, and Slovakia.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, and Hungary.

Table 3.8. Legal Loopholes.
Note: In these countries regulations on conflict of interest and incompatibilities can be circum-
vented with the approval of the direct superior, head of institution, or minister.

Provision Bosnia and Croatia Estonia Hungary Lithuania
Civil servants cannot
perform other tasks / / / /
for remuneration
Civil servants cannot
be in hierarchical
relationship with a
Civil servants cannot
enter into contracts
on behalf of the state /
with companies where
they own shares

employed as a civil servant; (5) entering into contracts on behalf of the public

administration institution at which he/she holds office with companies in which he/she

manages 10% (Lithuania) or 20% (Slovenia) of the shares; (6) being a member of management

or supervisory bodies of companies or other legal persons subject to oversight by the state

body in which he/she is employed; 79 (6) being employed by a company over which he/she

exercised supervision within two (Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Czech Republic) or three

(Estonia) years after the date of release of office; and (7) exercising any other activity that can

cause a conflict between the public duties and his/her private interests or that could affect

his/her impartiality. 80 Additionally, in two cases (Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Romania) a

civil servant who becomes a candidate for a public office shall be considered on leave from the

civil service and will be reinstated in the previous position at the end of the mandate.

However, the laws also offer loopholes that allow civil servants to circumvent these

regulation (see Table 3.8). With the approval of a superior (direct supervisor, head of the

institution, or minister), civil servants can engage in activities that can jeopardize the

integrity and impartiality of the system.

In Croatia, Moldova, and Slovakia.
In Croatia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Slovakia.
In Montenegro and Slovenia.

Disciplinary Measures

Civil servants can be held responsible for a wide range of misconducts. These can vary from

"minor" breaches of official duty (e.g., disrespect for working hours, unjustified absence from

work, failure to wear tags, etc.) to "grave" violations of their obligations (e.g., abuse of

authority, unjustified refusal to follow orders, engaging in activities incompatible with the

position, unlawful management of funds, breaking confidentiality rules, etc.). Accordingly, the

disciplinary measures imposed vary with the gravity of the offense. There is a continuum of

punishments, ranging from reprimand (or warning, remark, reproach) and written reprimand

(with the infraction documented in the personal file), to punitive suspension of salary and/or

duties, 8 1 suspension from promotion, 82 demotion, 83 suspension, and dismissal. The measure is

customarily imposed by the direct superior, or in the case of a more severe punishment, by

the head of the institution. 84

A number of systems establish disciplinary commissions that have the role of investigating

the offense and holding hearings. 85 Based on their recommendation, the person empowered to

make decisions imposes a disciplinary measure. Table 3.9 summarizes my findings on the legal

procedures invoked when a disciplinary action is applied. In a majority of cases, the accused

civil servant must be heard and is allowed to bring evidence in his/her defense. The initial

decision can be appealed either in specialized bodies or in regular civil law courts (for details

regarding the appeal bodies, please see Appendix B).

In conclusion, theoretically the laws strike a balance between holding civil servants

accountable for their actions and offering them adequate means with which to defend their

rights. But in practice, referring to the Czech Republic, Nunberg reckoned that the "fluidity
The amount of the salary suspension varies by country, from 5-10% in Romania to 30% in Macedonia,
Montenegro, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
As a punishment, civil servants cannot be promoted in general for up to two years (Albania, Bosnia and
Herzegovina, and Poland). Croatia has the most severe system, with a ban on promotions for two to fours
year, while Bulgaria has the most lenient system with a ban for only one year.
Demotion consists of being assigned to a position lower in rank/grade and with a lower salary for gen-
erally up to one year (Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Moldova, and Romania) or of being recalled from a senior
position (Czech Republic and Slovakia).
In some cases, the law imposes a statute of limitations which varies depending on the gravity of the vi-
olation. The period in which legal proceedings can be started varies from one month (Montenegro) to three
years (Hungary) since the act was committed. Usually disciplinary measures are recorded in the civil servant's
personal file and the entry is deleted for good behavior after a certain period of time.
In Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary such commissions are formed within each institution. In
Macedonia the minister responsible for the respective institution establishes a commission to conduct the disci-
plinary commission. In Montenegro, Poland and Slovakia, disciplinary commissions are appointed by the heads
of the institution.

Table 3.9. P r o c e d u r e for Imposing a Disciplinary M e a s u r e .
Note: The blank boxes indicate that no information was given in the law

Country Procedure Appeal

Civil Service Commission
civil/administrative court
Bosnia and
Civil Service Board
civil servant must be heard
Bulgaria regional courts
opinion of disciplinary board
Civil Service Tribunal
Higher Civil Service Tribunal
Croatia oral and public hearings
administrative court
right to defense council
Czech 1 s t degree disciplinary 2 n d degree disciplinary
Republic commission commission
Estonia administrative court
investigating commissioner
Hungary civil court
disciplinary council
civil servant must be informed
Macedonia minister appoints commission Agency for Civil Service
civil servant must be heard
disciplinary committee Appeals Commission
right to defense administrative court
Office Disciplinary Commission
High Disciplinary Commission
Poland right to defense counsel
Appeal Court in Warsaw
open sessions
Romania civil servant must be heard Disputed Claim Office
Civil Service Office
Slovakia disciplinary commission
civil/administrative court

and ambiguity of reporting lines and oversight responsibilities generate an aura of uncertainty

and chaos in the policy process, further diffusing accountability" (2000, 19). 86

Disclosure of A s s e t s

The privatizations of the early 1990s created opportunities for many public employees to

increase their fortunes substantially. In addition, everyday corruption is an enduring problem

in these countries. Taking into account these factors, civil servants should have an obligation

to declare their assets at least when they enter and leave the service, if not periodically during

the employment period. Such a declaration would increase accountability in the civil service.

However, only five systems, out of a total of 16 (31.25%), have such a requirement. 87 This

information, corroborated with the previous discussion on legal loopholes, works against an

impartial, legal-rational civil service.

3.3 Conclusions

In conclusion, beyond the merit facade, the laws provide a means for direct political influence,

through the appointment process, arbitrary allocation of salary bonuses, and dismissal

procedures. But I argue that, in addition to institutional design, several other factors can

explain the variation in bureaucratic performance displayed in Figure 3.14. Among these

factors, the emphasis is on the role of politics and politicians as a major reason why elements

of the spoils system appear in the civil service law. 88 Chapter 5 discusses the role of

politicians in the success (or failure) of civil service reform.

The circumstantial realities of transitioning from a communist regime hardly make it

possible to run a full-fledged, sophisticated merit system. If wages are so much lower in the

public sector compared to the private sector, as it is/was everywhere in CEE, it is difficult to
The laws are silent with respect to ensuring a civil servant's accountability to the people. One can hope
this void is filled by secondary legislation.
Bulgaria, Moldova, and Slovakia require annual declarations, Bosnia and Herzegovina only upon appoint-
ment, and Romania upon entering and leaving service. In Bosnia and Herzegovina and Moldova, the declara-
tion must include not only personal possessions, but also possessions of the immediate family.
For example, Meyer-Sahling (2001) provides an in-depth examination of various stakeholders and their
role in the formation of civil service regulations in Hungary. On the one hand, ;Jmost all actors preferred and
attached great value to the merit system. However, he notices a conflict between the general values rooted
in the merit system advocated by the new political elite and the practical needs for loyal subordination and
for rewarding those who assisted the party or its leaders before coming to power, which encouraged a spoils

Figure 3.12. Simplistic M o d e l of Merit S y s t e m Effects.

Merit System
Depoliticization Professionalization Performance
(created by law)

find enough, if any, qualified candidates for certain civil service positions. Entry exams may

be useless if the number of vacant positions exceeds the number of qualified candidates. Since

wages are low, the pay-table cannot be applied to professionals who are paid higher wages in

the private sector. Consequently, exceptions to the general pay rules must be made in order

to fill important positions.

Furthermore, the process of transitioning from communism necessitates the re-definition of

state functions. This, as well as severe financial austerity, results periodically in a significant

reduction in the number of public employees. Whole public administration organizations may

be abolished or privatized. Whereas employment security, a sine qua non of merit systems,

can be assured in normal periods, it is both politically and financially impossible in the

circumstances of transition.

The hypothesis of this chapter is that different institutional settings generate different

levels of performance. Figure 3.12 shows a simplified version of the impact of institutional

characteristics on performance. A de jure meritocratic system decreases the level of

politicization in the civil service, while, at the same time, it increases the level of

professionalism. The main effect of depoliticization is a surge in professionalism, which in turn

affects the level of performance.

This model is inaccurate for several reasons. Depoliticization can directly affect

performance by reducing a bloated civil service and increasing accountability. Moreover,

depoliticization is not the only factor that impacts professionalization. During the past

decade, the proportion of youths studying at universities has more than doubled, leading to

an overproduction of graduates with diplomas in law, economics, and business administration.

A large proportion of unemployed graduates strives to find positions in the civil service, even

if they only use such positions as springboards for a career in the private sector. This may

explain why professionalization - at least in terms of education - has improved during the past

decade and especially in the past few years.

The model presented in Figure 3.12 assumes that politicization can be prevented merely by

introducing merit system legal regulations. The facts, however, reveal that other factors may

be relevant - potentially even more relevant than an ambiguous civil service law - in this

regard. Such factors could include having a political and administrative culture that attaches

value to merit-based functions, and consequently, makes extreme levels of political intrusion

into the civil service politically costly. Furthermore, the lack of attractiveness of civil service

positions, due to low wages or other reasons, may make most of these positions worthless as

political spoils. But, as discussed in Chapter 5, the most important factor in ensuring

depoliticization, and thus fostering institutional performance, is the nature of the party


The uni-directional model also suggests that more politicization always means less

professionalism. However, professionalization can exist even in the presence of politicization.

One explanation for elevated professionalism is, as mentioned above, that the general level of

education in society has rapidly increased during the past few years. Another reason may be

that the civil service, in sociological terms, may still provide more reliable employment than

the private sector, in a state of flux during a transition period. Despite low wages preventing

politicians from using these positions as rewards for their supporters, they still may be desired

positions for large strata of the society. A revised and extended model is presented in Figure


Figure 3.13. Extended Model of Merit System Effects.

Party System

Merit System
Depoliticization Performance
(created by law)


level of
education in
the society

Figure 3.14. Quality of Bureaucracy Over Time in CEE 1985-2005.
Sources: ILO and ICRG. The red vertical lines indicate when a civil service act was adopted.
In some cases, multiple laws were adopted in one country, hence the multiple lines. "Quality of
bureaucracy" runs from 0 to 4, with 4 indicating a high quality bureaucracy. Data missing for
Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia.

Albania Bulgaria

1990 199S 2000 2005


Croatia Czech Republic

1990 1995 2000 2O05 1990 1995 2000 2005

Year Year

Estonia Hungary

1990 1995 2000 2005


F i g u r e 3.14. Continued from the previous page . . .

Latvia Lithuania

1990 1995 2000 2QQS


Moldova Poland

1990 199S 2000 2005 1985 1990 1995 2000

Serbia and Montenegro


I 1990 199S
1990 1995 2000 2005

Slovakia Slovenia

1990 1995 2000 2005

Year Year

Chapter 4

De Facto Systems: Romania

The discussion in the previous chapter revealed that the civil service laws in CEE created civil

service systems that are formally meritocratic in nature. Taking into account the

characteristics of communist bureaucracies (discussed in Chapter 2), we would expect the

quality of bureaucracy (as measured by ICRG) to improve after the implementation of these

acts. But Figure 3.14 reveals a mixed result: the quality of bureaucracy improved only in

Albania and Hungary, worsened in Moldova, and remained constant in the rest of the countries.
Why have the indicators not improved in spite of progressive institutional reform? I believe

the answer lies in the ineffective implementation of these legislative acts. For example, in

successive reports on Romania, SIGMA pointed out that the provisions of the 1999 Civil

Service Act were not applied in practice (SIGMA 2002b, SIGMA 2005d, SIGMA 2006h).

In this chapter I will focus on the Romanian civil service. If indeed the civil service system

did not improve due to a failure in the implementation of the law, how does the system look

in practice compared to the legal provisions? For example, the law stipulates that recruitment

must be made on a meritocratic basis. Do we notice patronage in practice? Second, the law is

designed to encourage long tenures. Are civil servants building a career in the civil service or

do they stay in the administration only because of a lack of alternatives? I hope to answer

these and other similar questions using a survey of almost 1,000 civil servants. The survey

was conducted in 2004 by the Institute of Public Politics and offers valuable insights into civil

servants' perceptions of their civil service.

Ideally one would have (at least) one similar survey measuring civil servants' attitudes

before 1999, the year when the Romanian Civil Service Act was adopted. Unfortunately such

a study does not exist. Figure 4.1 shows that the quality of bureaucracy (as measured by
lt is difficult to draw any conclusions with respect to Croatia because of a lack of data. Also, in the case
of Latvia and Lithuania we see some fluctuation in ratings, with a slight decline followed by an improvement
in grading. Estonia suffered from the reverse process: slight improvement followed by a decline.

Figure 4 . 1 . Quality of Bureaucracy in R o m a n i a Over T i m e
Note: The red line marks the adoption of the Civil Service Act in 1999.



o 2.5"
J5 2-
D 1 -


I , , , 1 , ,_
1985 1990 1995 2000 2005


ICRG) has remained constant after the law's implementation. 2 Nevertheless, the law may

have impacted to varying extents discrete dimensions of the civil service system (e.g. may

have equally increased accountability while decreasing transparency resulting in a constant

rating). The ICRG measure is an aggregate measure which does not allow for such in-depth

analyses. Consequently, a survey is an ideal instrument for seeing how the Romanian system

fares along the dimensions discussed in Chapter 3. Moreover, using a survey of civil servants

has the great advantage of providing an internal evaluation of a system about which

information is usually restricted to European Union country-level assessments.

The survey provides a contextual description of the public sector, including characteristics

of respondents, their reasons for joining the public sector and the length of time worked in

government. In addition to such general questions, the survey consists of a series of questions

that allows me to test a series of widely held views regarding public officials. The literature on

civil services is awash with statements often repeated but without substantive evidence -

more akin to "urban myths" than empirical observations and this survey enables me to test
The figure shows an increase in the quality of bureaucracy during the late 1980's and early 1990's. This
jump is most certainly due to the collapse of communism and adoption of democracy, which undoubtedly led
to a more transparent and meritocratic system. However, the overall rating remains very low, especially when
compared to other post-communist systems.

and support or refute such hypotheses. Finally, the survey allows some assessment of which

aspects of the institutional environment affect performance.

An important limitation of case studies is the problem of external validity. What do the

findings from the Romanian case say about other Central and Eastern European countries?

What about countries in other regions of the world? To answer these questions, I will use the

World Bank's Public Officials' Survey on the views of public officials, concerning their

institutional environment in fifteen countries ( h t t p : / / g o . w o r l d b a n k . o r g / 2 7 R I I 6 3 J 4 0 ) .

The quality of the Romanian bureaucracy is very poor. In 2005, the Romanian

bureaucracy was the only CEE bureaucracy given a rating of one by ICRG (see Figure 3.14).

Considering the very low starting point, one could argue that if civil service acts are to

produce effects, one would notice the biggest impact in such a low performer.

Corruption is widespread in the Romanian society. In a survey assessing the effect of the

quality of public institutions for economic investment, businesspeople ranked Romania last

among the transitioning democracies in Eastern Europe, 80% of interviewees reporting they

had had to make "additional payments" to have public servants do their job. 3

What these numbers tell us is that while Romania has tried to move beyond its communist

past, the legacies of the Ceauescu era weigh heavily on the country's public institutions. The

creation of a meritocratic civil service system through the civil service act did not have the

intended effect of improving the quality of bureaucracy.

I begin this chapter with a brief sketch of the political and administrative backdrop. This

narrative is useful in providing the context for civil service reform. I then use the civil

servants survey to sketch the image of the Romanian civil service system along the dimensions

of capacity, transparency, accountability, professionalism, and independence from political

influence. I conclude the chapter with an analysis of the World Bank's Public Officials'

Survey to ascertain whether the findings in the Romanian case are specific or universal.

4.1 Romanian Civil Service

4.1.1 Background

During the communist era, the Romanian administration was highly interconnected and
The data is available at

under the influence of the Romanian Communist Party (RCP). 4 Conforming to the pattern

existent in the rest of the Soviet Bloc, the party largely determined the administrative

structure. However, a distinctive characteristic of the Romanian system was the early and

sustained domination of the party by one man, Nicolae Ceauescu. Beginning in 1967,

Ceauescu was both general secretary of the RCP and head of the State Council. By

constitutional amendment, in 1974 the post of President of the Republic was created and

Nicolae Ceauescu was named as president. This event signaled a consolidation of centralized

and personalized rule. Policy by presidential decree became frequent and, by the late 1980s,

political leadership in Romania had taken on dynastic dimensions: key positions in the

government, party, and military were occupied by members of Ceauescu's family.5

The centralization of political authority had a variety of consequences for the structure of

public administration. Bureaucratic expansion was common: at the end of the 1980s, the

Council of Ministers, numbering over sixty members, was larger than the corresponding

councils of any other Eastern Bloc government except for the Soviet Union (Nunberg 1999).

In 1989, Romania had the largest number of ministries and central organizations of any

country in the region. At the same time, the internal structure of the bureaucracy was quite

unstable. Agency reshuffling and changes in high-ranking executives were frequent; between

1985 and 1988, for instance, there were over twenty government reorganizations affecting

central functions such as defense, finance, and foreign affairs (Nunberg 1999).

Overall, the bureaucracy was highly stratified and played only a modest role in planning or

policy decisions. Decision-making authority was reserved for a few high-level executives, with

very little discretion given to those at lower levels. Local governments had virtually no

autonomy. Moreover, administrative procedures were extremely formal and encouraged civil

servants to find ways to circumvent the rules. The result was a bureaucratic class that was

both disengaged and insecure, as well as prone to corruption (Verheijen 1999a).

In 1965, the Romanian Constitution officially established the Romanian Communist Party (RCP) as the
country's only legal political party. This constitution also created the Grand National Assembly (GNA), a
unicameral body of representatives nominated by the party. The GNA served as the highest authority in Ro-
mania. It sent representatives to the State Council, which acted for the GNA when the assembly was not in
session. The assembly (or the State Council, when the assembly was not in session) oversaw the Council of
Ministers, made up of representatives from different administrative agencies. The actual number of ministries
and agencies was not constitutionally specified, however, resulting in a variation in the size and nature of the
administration over time (Nunberg 1999).
For example, Nicolae Ceauescu's wife, Elena, became First Deputy Prime Minister in 1980 and was a
member of the Politburo.

Much of this system was changed with Ceauescu's fall and the introduction of democratic

politics. The new Constitution adopted in 1991 creates a system with clear separation of

legislative, executive, and judicial powers. The form of government is semi-presidential

republic with a bicameral parliament, both chambers of which are elected by universal

suffrage to four-year terms. 6 The president is also elected through direct suffrage for a five

year-term, and the presidential mandate is limited to two terms. The court system is led by a

Constitutional Court consisting of nine judges appointed to nine-year terms by the legislature

and the president. In addition to this body of constitutional review, the judicial branch is

composed of the Supreme Court of Justice, the last authority on civil and criminal matters,

and appellate and district courts.

This constitutional and political framework, established early in the transition process,

provides the context for ongoing reforms in the Romanian public administration. The very

speed with which the institutions of government have been transformed poses significant

challenges. The scope and pace of legal and institutional reforms have taxed the state's ability

to implement such reforms effectively. Civil service reform did not constitute a priority for the

post-communsit governments. Additionally, it is always easier to change the electoral system,

for example, than to dislodge deeply rooted bureaucratic practices and ways of thinking.

Whether these institutional and behavioral obstacles can be overcome will be the real test of

the administrative transition under way in Romania.

4.1.2 Reform Process

Until 1997, Romanian governing and opposition parties were divided over both the necessity

of reforming the state apparatus and the direction of the reform process (SIGMA 2002b).

Consequently, no significant reforms were adopted: state administration structures and

administrative practices remained largely untouched. This lack of action was all the more

problematic because the deficient state apparatus, inherited from the previous political
In March-April 2008 the Romanian parliament voted to reform the electoral system used for parliamen-
tary elections. Under the old system deputies and senators were elected based on a proportional representa-
tion, open-list system. The new system divides each district (jude^) and the Municipality of Bucharest into
single-member districts. Candidates win automatically if they receive over 50% of the votes in their district.
Nevertheless, the overall composition of parliament will be proportional: the two-tier seat allocation method
used in the old closed-list system is retained, using the Hare quota at the county level, and then d'Hondt
quota for nationally cumulated votes and seats remaining after the county-level allocation, with a five per-
cent legal threshold applied throughout. The prime minister, representing the largest parliamentary group, is
appointed by the president.

regime, left a power vacuum that led to the domination of the state by political, social, and

economic interests with little concern for the public interest.

A turning point was reached in 1997 when international organizations, led by the World

Bank and IMF, pushed the newly elected government to initiate structural reforms of the

state and make systemic changes. This position was strongly supported by the European

Union (EU) in its opinion of 1997, and regular reports of 1998 and 1999. The issue became

part of the political discourse but little was achieved in the practical sense, in spite of the

reform being depicted as the "last chance" for Romania to become a full-fledged democracy

with a market economy.

Among the positive steps taken, the most notable was the creation of the Ombudsman

office in 1997. In spite of the good intentions, the institution suffered from insufficient means

and limited power to carry out its tasks effectively. Another encouraging development was the

adoption of the Civil Service Act, passed by parliament in December 1999. The law, which

came into force in July 2000, was not implemented for a long time because of the December

2000 general elections and the low managerial capability of the Civil Service Agency (SIGMA

2002b). Even when applied, it is questionable that this institutional effort has produced

positive outcomes. Overall, "the same impression lingers that laws are passed to check boxes

in the matrices of conditionality imposed by international partners, rather than these laws

having meaningful impacts in reality" (Ionitja 2008, 165).

The Civil Service Law was adopted as a precondition for Romania to start EU accession

negotiations in Helsinki in 1999. Its declared purpose was to insulate civil servants from

political pressure and create a modern, European-style civil service. Nevertheless, the law had

a bigger impact because of its omissions, rather than its provisions: it failed to establish any

obstacles against the politically motivated reshuffling within the public sector whenever a new

government assumed power. 7 In other cases the law's provisions were well intended but could

not be applied in practice. For example, the legal obligation that each of the 110,000 civil

servants from the central and local administrations take at least seven days of training per

year creates an annual public liability of $50 million. This volume far exceeds the capability

of the National Training Institute for Public Administration, which can train only 10% of the
In most cases dismissals are justified by reorganizations, but reorganizations are only comprised of a
change in the institution's name.

personnel per year (Ioni^a, 2008, 165). 8

By 2005 SIGMA was reporting that some of the actions taken by the new government had

effectively reversed the small progress made in the preceding years. For example, in the past,

directors of public institutions were political appointees at the discretion of the government.

After each general election all directors would be replaced with appointees loyal to the new

government. In an effort to eliminate discretionary appointments, the Civil Service Act

stipulated that these managers must be civil servants, insulated from political influence.

However, by 2005 some of the directors were hired based on management contracts.

Consequently, they did not have to fulfill the requirements for civil service and did not benefit

from the law's protection (SIGMA 2005d). Overall, SIGMA noted a reversal in the trend

towards professionalism in state structures after the 2004 elections: visible appetite for

patronage politics and numerous, abrupt, and arbitrary removals of incumbents whenever a

new government took office.

Unquestionably, there are differences in the levels of professionalization within the

Romanian public institutions. For example, the Ministry of Finance is composed of

competent (highly paid) professionals (SIGMA 2006h). But this is a small group of civil

servants that does not correctly reflect the overall picture of the Romanian civil service.

Ioni^a, concludes that the Romanian civil service is a "mass of disgruntled and ineffective staff

punctuated by small and transient groups who understand and try to push forward

meaningful reforms" (2008, 166). Moreover, he argues that Romania does not have a civil

service in the Western sense, but a "collection of sectoral and opaque bureaucracies operating

on a mismatch of sector-specific arrangements around which powerful vested interests have

solidified in time" (IonU;a 2008, 166).

Public institutions are very heterogeneous in terms of the rules by which they operate and

their managerial practices. Many institutions use public-interest arguments to create special

rules applicable only to their purview, yet job performance is not measured in any meaningful

way. The National Agency of Civil Servants (a state secretariat under the Ministry of

Administration and Internal Affairs) is reluctant to develop measures of performance for fear
A number of special interministerial committees were established to deal specifically with public adminis-
tration reform issues. Additionally, the Central Unit for Public Administration Reform (CUPAR) was estab-
lished in the Ministry of Administration and Internal Affairs to assist the process and organize consultations
with social stakeholders. With the help of international donors (mainly the EU), special study grants and fast-
track career schemes were created for would-be civil servants educated in Western universities.

of a backlash from institutions. Annual evaluations do not rank employees according to their

actual performance; every employee is awarded the highest grade. Instead of rewarding

individual effort, performance supplements are to be shared equally by the whole team. In

general, management is fragmented and discretionary and employees use anonymity to cover

their incompetence. 9 The decision-making process is very cumbersome and inefficient. For

example, according to mass-media reports, during the 1996-2000 center-right coalition

government, cabinet meetings could last 12-14 consecutive hours, with ministers and advisors

coming in and out and trying to outmaneuver each other by sneaking draft documents into

the prime minister's folder.

Job turnover is high, and consequently there is little institutional memory. The Romanian

civil service remains secretive, and relevant information is kept away from the public as the

only comparative advantage for otherwise unemployable clerks. Loyalty to the manager elicits

rewards and civil servants tend to be naturally selected according to this trait.

Political independence of the civil service is a novel concept, the assumption being that

election winners will apportion all public jobs amongst themselves. 10 After each parliamentary

election, the winning parties talk about "algorithms" for the allocation of positions in the civil

service, based on the so-called principle of political proportionality (i.e. based on electoral

results). These discussions are held publicly, despite the fact that the Civil Service Act sets

strict criteria for becoming a civil servant, one of which is open competition.

Finally, corruption, when it occurs, is not so much the result of isolated individual acts to

extract revenue in exchange for service (petty corruption), although this is annoying to

citizens and more easily quantifiable. Rather, the most dangerous form of corruption entails

political clientelism, which results in systematic discriminatory treatment or favors for various

categories of clients (grand corruption).

In this institutional landscape one is left to wonder what the profile of a Romanian civil

servant looks like. Is he a petty clerk who has survived in his functional role since the time of

communism? Or a new dropout from the private sector, frustrated by the low income but

unsure of his skills, clinging to his job, taking refuge in daily routines, playing bureaucratic
This assessment is based on an interview with Veronica Junjan, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the
University of Twente. She has consulted for the City of Cluj in its application of the civil service law.
When arbitrary and politically driven purges occur, the people with the most expertise leave the civil
service either because they are the most visibly associated with the previous leadership or because they are the
most professionally mobile segment of the civil service as a result of their expertise.

power games, and yielding to political pressures from above? Or is he a person who regards

service in the public administration as a step to a future political career or a lucrative job in

the private sector?

In the following section I will sketch the portrait of a Romanian civil servant using a

survey of almost 1,000 civil servants. For a summary of the findings, please see Table 4.1, The

last column indicates whether, based on the survey, commonly held beliefs have been

confirmed or not.

4.2 Romanian Civil Service System

4.2.1 Description of t h e D a t a

The following analysis is based on the Civil Service Barometer survey, which was carried out

by the Institute for Public Politics, Bucharest, Romania (www. i p p . r o ) . The field research was

conducted by Gallup Organization Romania between September 27 and October 18, 2004.

Data collection was done through questionnaires, each consisting of 86 items, on a sample of

993 civil servants from local public institutions.

Sampling was designed on a three-stadium, probabilistic basis, with distinct samples for

each category selected: institutions, departments, and civil servants. Questionnaires were

distributed in all 42 administrative units (41 counties - jude^e- and the municipality of

Bucharest) and in 83 mayoralties of towns and the municipality of Bucharest, The selection of

the 83 local urban units and the institutional departments was probabilistic. Results have a

margin of error of 3%.

4.2.2 Civil Servants Profile

What does the typical Romanian civil servant look like? The civil servant is a woman (70% of

those interviewed were women), probably married and with one child. 11 She is under 45 years

old 12 and has a college degree (67% of respondents have at least a college degree). She has

held another position before her current one (the case for 83% of local civil servants), most

likely in the private sector (61% of civil servants have previously worked in the private sector).
In spite of the fact that women are prevalent in the civil service, men occupy almost half of the executive
Thirty-three percent of respondents are between 20 and 34 years old, 32% are between 34 and 44 years
old, and 34% are over 45 years old.

Table 4.1. Testing Commonly Held Assertions About the Romanian Civil Service System.
Note: These findings axe based on the Romanian Civil Service Barometer.
Prior Assertion Survey Question(s) Used Findings
Romanian civil service is composed of A22. For how many years have you been working in the
Not confirmed
employees from the communist era public administration?
A6. In addition to your native tongue, what other languages
can you speak?
A4. What is your level of education?
Civil servants have a low level of
A5b. What is your educational background Partially confirmed
A l l . How would you characterize your computer skills?
A24. What is your field of work in your current position?
A35. Have you undergone training programs?
A29. Where do you see yourself working in 5 years?
A63/64. Since the beginning of the year have you taken steps
A civil service job is an intermediary step
to find another job? If so, where? Partially confirmed
to getting a job in the private sector
A30. What are the main reasons for working in the public
A28. How did you find out about your present position?
A42. On what basis are civil servants selected to attend
training programs?
The civil service lacks transparency A46. Do annual reviews correctly reflect individual performance? Confirmed
A53. Do you think the sanctions applied in your department
are justified?
A55. Do you think bonuses are allocated based on merit?
A31b. Have you ever been subjected to abusive acts resulting
in relocation, temporary or permanent transfers, or were you
Civil servants enjoy little job security allocated tasks not in your job description Partially confirmed
A34. To what degree does your job description match the
tasks you are actually assigned?
Continued on the next page ...
Table 4.1. Continued from the previous page ...
Prior Assertion Survey Question(s) Used Findings
A32. In your opinion how important is political affiliation in
obtaining a job in the public administration?
A50. How often do political factors influence hiring decisions
in your institution?
The civil service is politicized Partially confirmed
A51. In your opinion, how are civil servants who are
members of the same political party as their superior treated
compared to civil servants affiliated with a different party
than their superior?
A38. How happy are you of the quality of the training
Training programs do not improve performance program you underwent? Not confirmed
A40. Would you like to attend more training programs?
A47. What factors do you think would be most
The civil service is not adequately equipped to effective in increasing performance in the civil service?
meet society's needs A88. Which of these factors do you think would be the most
effective in ensuring an adequate behavior of civil servants?
A48. How much independence do you have in your activity?
A49. When were you last consulted by your superior about a
The civil service has a strict hierarchical
decision regarding your sphere of activity? Partially confirmed
organization that inhibits individual initiative
A73. Are civil servants encouraged to express their opinions
on acts of their superior, without fear of repercussions?
A78. What is your opinion about the anti- corruption measures
taken by the government?
Policy credibility is low Confirmed
A80. In your opinion, how good are the government's measures
regarding the civil service?
A73. Are civil servants encouraged to make public
illegal behavior, without fear of repercussions?
The level of accountability is low Partially confirmed
A75. How widespread is the conflict of interests among civil
There is low emphasis on service delivery A74. Whose interests does your institution serve? Not confirmed
Lastly, she has entered public service after 1989, when the communist regime was overthrown

(significantly, 87% of local civil servants have entered public employment in the last fifteen

years). 13

4.2.3 Capacity

Civil servants were also asked to identify the main impediments to their professionalism.

They pointed out two types of factors: psychological and institutional. The most common

psychological factors are:

citizens' attitudes toward civil servants - 26.5%

lack of sense of mission/esprit de corps - 19.5%

low morale among civil servants - 9.4%

The institutional factors are:

low salaries - 77%

lack of organizational culture - 17.7%

lack of professional training - 16.8%

corruption - 12.3%

lack of support from high-level officials - 7.2%

Taking into account the low level of salaries in the Romanian civil service, the results of

the survey are not surprising. However, when asked about what would motivate them to work

harder, civil servants did not only point to increases in salaries (which 88% of respondents

indicated would make them improve their own performance), 14 but also to non-monetary

factors, such as creation of a sense of belonging to the civil service corps (esprit de corps) and

a clear division of labor. In spite of all their grievances, almost eight out of ten civil servants

expressed being proud of working in the local administration. Moreover, almost 90% of
Thirty-one percent of employees have been working in the civil service for less than five years, 36% for
5-10 years, 20% for 10-15 years, and only 13% for more than 15 years.
Civil servants want an increase in their salaries ranging from 91% to 192%. Nevertheless, 43% of employ-
ees would continue to work in the public administration even if their salary would be lowered by 15% and 51%
would continue working in the public sector even if salary increases would not reach the level promised by the

respondents are satisfied or very satisfied with their current job, pointing to the following

reasons: (1) connections with colleagues and direct superior; (2) working schedule and

lifestyle; (3) job security; and (4) nature of work performed.

Civil servants display moderate optimism about the future of public administration. They

expect the most important changes to be an increase in the level of autonomy for the public

administration from political actors (36%), improvement of performance standards (25.6%),

and betterment of managerial practices (21.9%). Interestingly, respondents showed a high

level of skepticism regarding the chances of public administration reform, with only 14.7%

indicating that they expected the pace and results of the reform process to improve in the

next five years.

Work Environment

How do civil servants view their work environment and their relationships with colleagues

and superiors? Civil servants report a high level of inertia in the public administration:

almost 70% of interviewees indicate that their superiors and colleagues are resistant to

changes. However, 68% of civil servants believe their opinion is taken into consideration by

their fellow workers. In a majority of cases (71%) managers praise their subordinates when

they successfully fulfill a task, and 66% of civil servants corroborate that they have been

asked by their superior to provide input on how to best conduct an assignment. These

answers paint the image of an environment in which employees have a high level of

independence, but also in which almost half of the personnel are not encouraged to express

their views or reveal, without fear of repercussions, cases of disciplinary violations.

A majority of civil servants (82%) rate the collaboration among departments as efficient.

In spite of the fact that many employees view colleagues as friends, 50% of respondents reckon

that they cannot rely on their colleagues for help in fulfilling their duties.

Most civil servants (63%) work supplementary hours, either because they cannot finish

their work during regular hours (36%), or because they are passionate about their work (23%)

or for money (11%). One third of employees work between five and ten extra hours a week;

however, managers are less likely to stay after work than lower level civil servants.

Overall, the work environment is characterized by (1) resistance to changes (inert system)

- over 70% of respondents report that their colleagues and superiors are resistant to change;

(2) stressful conditions - 57% of civil servants find their job taxing; (3) respect for individual

performance and responsiveness to personal suggestions - almost three quarters of

interviewees think that their work is noticed by their superiors and find that their opinions

are listened to; (4) satisfaction with the job - 80% of civil servants are proud to be working

for a public institution; and (5) flexibility - 78% of public employees believe that they have

enough independence to perform their functions (thus contradicting the myth of inflexibility

and hierarchical rigidity within the public administration). However, in order to get a

complete picture of the Romanian local civil service, these features must be corroborated with

other pieces of information. For example, while civil servants declare that they feel their

opinions are taken into consideration by their superior, 51% report that they do not feel

encouraged to express their opinions when they disagree with their superior. Moreover, 42%

of respondents would not draw attention to acts of misconduct.

This type of obedience and secrecy is worrisome considering the legislative effort to create

job safety and encourage transparency. One explanation may be that civil servants are

encouraged to maintain secrecy over any event that may damage the image of the institution.

This conclusion was reinforced by Professor Junjan, who estimated that superiors gave ratings

of 'excellent' and 'good' to the majority of employees so that their departments would seem to

be very efficient to central institutions.

4.2.4 Professionalism

Educational Background

Level of education is one of the prerequisites for entry in the civil service (1999 Civil

Service Act, art. 6). Yet, the law is silent on the specific educational background of

candidates. In practice, a majority of civil servants have a college degree (67% when adding

both College and Graduate values from Table 4.2), specializing in engineering (41%),

economics (27%), or social sciences (15%); only 2% of respondents have a degree in public

administration (see Figure 4.2).

As shown in Figure 4.2 the educational profile of civil servants does not match the

requirements of the civil service system: while 4 1 % of employees have studied engineering,

only 27% of the work of civil servants is technical. Only 3% of employees have a degree in law,

but 10% of respondents serve in the legal department. While 27% of local civil servants have

Table 4.2. Level of Education in t h e R o m a n i a n Civil Service

Level of Education Percentage of R e s p o n d e n t s

High school 22

Junior college 11

College 53

Graduate 14

Figure 4.2. Educational Background and Field of A c t i v i t y of R o m a n i a n Civil

Note: NA stands for "no answer."


\ .'* Other .
i \\ ! /
\V/ /
i -'
| Engi caring i <' Ecoromics
i 418 rv 27%

Educational background Sphere of activity

a background in economics, a larger 37% labor in jobs of an economic nature. Such

imbalances can be rectified with training programs, but as discussed below, a majority of civil

servants report not receiving enough training.

Also related to the level of professionalism, 85% of civil servants are proficient in a foreign

language and almost all civil servants (98%) can use a computer. 15

Career Development

A majority of local civil servants see themselves working within the same institution for
The infrastructure of the Romanian civil service is developed: 82% of respondents report having perma-
nent access to a computer, 13% received a cell phone from their institution, and 4% have a car at their dis-
posal. As expected, these latter requisites are intended for civil servants in managerial positions.

the next five years (only 26% of respondents expect to occupy a different position, while 37%

believe they will hold the same position). Only 6% of respondents see themselves in the

private sector in five years. However, 42% of those interviewed admitted to having taken steps

towards finding a new job and 18% indicated the private sector as the preferred domain for

future work. The difference between the 6% of respondents who see themselves in the private

sector and the 18% who prefer private over public sector jobs is very intriguing. The

explanation may be that these employees have already tried to secure a job in the private

sector but, not being competitive enough, were unsuccessful. This would reinforce the

conventional view that public jobs are filled with people who have failed to obtain a job in the

private sector.

For many civil servants, job security is the main reason for working in the public

administration, in spite of the low levels of payment. Sixty percent of interviewees pointed to

job security as their primary motive, while 30% acknowledged that they had no job

alternatives. An overwhelming majority (80%) of civil servants are dissatisfied with their

salary and 48% are disgruntled with their chances of career advancement, but almost 90% of

respondents declare being satisfied with their jobs. The natural inference is that for a majority

of civil servants their job is simply convenient; a cozy, stable job without responsibility.

Article 31 paragraph 1 of the Civil Service Law specifies that public servants have the right

to continuously improve their professional skills, while article 48 paragraph 1 establishes an

obligation for civil servants to undergo professional development courses for at least seven

days per year. Nevertheless, the law does not create an obligation for public institutions to

provide these courses. Consequently, 60% of local civil servants have undergone professional

training since occupying their current positions, but only 40% in the previous year. On

average, the length of the training program has been ten days in 2003, but 22% of

respondents reported training courses shorter than seven days. The level of satisfaction with

the quality of the training programs is high, with 75% of employees finding training programs

beneficial to their career development. Complementing this positive view of training

programs, an overwhelming majority of interviewees (75%) requested more training programs,

focused mostly on teaching computer skills, foreign languages, and managerial skills.

4.2.5 Independence from External Influence

Managerial Arbitrariness

The Romanian civil service system displays several elements of arbitrariness. In most

cases, the hierarchical superior decides who takes part in training programs (43%) and only

rarely (in 30% of the cases) is such a decision made based on an employee's request.

Additionally, one fifth of local civil servants report having been given tasks not included in

their job description. A worrisome fact is that 7% of interviewees declared that they had been

unlawfully transferred (temporarily or permanently) to a different department within the

same institution. 16

Article 54 paragraph 5 of the Civil Service Law (as amended up to 2004) stipulates that

every civil servant must receive a copy of the job description upon being sworn in to office. A

large proportion of civil servants had been hired before this regulation was enacted.

Consequently, many civil servants do not possess a detailed account of their responsibilities.

As a result, it is not surprising that 22% of civil servants believe they have been asked to

perform tasks different from those inherent to the position they occupy.

The practice of annual appraisal also exhibits elements of arbitrariness. One third of civil

servants declared that performance evaluations did not correctly reflect individual

performance within their departments. 1 7 On a related point, the allocation of bonuses and

financial supplements lacks transparency: half of civil servants stated that they did not have

enough information to gauge whether bonuses were allocated on merit, while 16% answered

that the way bonuses were given was not justified by individual performance.

One relevant aspect regarding the arbitrariness in managerial decisions is that 19% of

respondents disclosed how in the previous three yea rs there had been civil servants within

their departments who had been disciplined and sanctioned for low performance. However,

the current legal system does not allow for disciplinary sanctions to be applied in cases of

unsatisfactory work (though one can be demoted, denied advancement in position, or even

dismissed). As long as low performance does not constitute an occasion for disciplinary
Ideally one would track the careers of a number of civil servants to see unlawful transfers not only within
the same institution but across institutions as well.
Thirteen percent of civil servants asserted that the criteria used for annual evaluations are not poor. Re-
markably, the percentage of respondents decrying the quality of the scale is higher among managerial civil
servants, 21% versus 12% for lower-level civil servants.

misconduct, the sanctions are illegal and can be appealed in court.

Politicization and Patronage

The 1999 Civil Service Law does not prohibit civil servants from becoming members of

political parties and explicitly allows public employees to form unions. However, the level of

membership in social and political organizations is relatively low. Only 6% of civil servants

are members of a political party, while 35% are union members. 19 Party membership is higher

at the managerial level (12%) than at the lower levels (only 5%). It is hard to determine

whether this means that party affiliation is a prerequisite for occupying a higher-level position

within the administration (or for retaining it), but this imbalance is interesting to note.

Twenty-one percent of local civil servants have relatives in the public administration. From

this category, 28% found out about their current job through their relatives and applied to

the vacant position. This means that 6% of local civil servants both had relatives in the

public administration and used these relatives to obtain information about job openings,

which indicates the existence of nepotism.

European Union assessment reports between 1998 and 2004 have called attention to the

systemic nature of corruption in the public administration and criticized the limited

governmental actions taken to curb corruption (Commission of the European Union, Regular

Report on Romania's Progress Towards Accession, h t t p : / / e u r o p a . e u ) . The survey of civil

servants reveals an alarming reality. One third (33.8%) of those interviewed opine that

corruption is very widespread or relatively widespread amongst civil servants. Moreover,

32.5% of civil servants report that conflicts of interest are prevalent in public institutions (see

Table 4.3). By comparison, a survey representative of the entire population revealed that 35%

of Romanians estimate that a majority of civil servants are corrupt. 2 0 With respect to

disclosing where corruption occurs, 62% of civil servants characterize it as a generalized

phenomenon, while 33% consider corruption as something that occurs only at the highest

levels within the administration. 21 Interestingly, civil servants in an overwhelming percentage

There are no data on the number of cases brought to court by civil servants.
According to Mair and van Biezen (2001), only 1-4% of the electorate identified with a political party in
the 1990s in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. This suggests that the 6% level of affiliation
in the Romanian civil service was in line with the levels observed at the entire population.
Based on the results of the Public Opinion Barometer, May 2004, h t t p : / / w u o . i p p . r o / .
Civil servants also find in an overwhelming majority (62.5%) that the measures taken by the government
to combat corruption are unsatisfactory.

Table 4 . 3 . Corruption and Conflicts of Interest in t h e R o m a n i a n Local Civil

Question Very Moderately Not
common common common
How widespread is corruption among
4.6% 29.2% 44%
civil servants?
How widespread is conflict of interest
4.3% 28.2% 42.9%
among civil servants?

(77%) point to the low salaries as the main obstacle to professional integrity. From a policy

perspective this finding is very valuable suggesting that an increase in the level of salaries can

lead to a decrease in corruption.

The work environment in the local public administration is inclusive. However,

approximately 28% of civil servants report having felt discriminated against. The most

common cause of discrimination is age (12%) , 22 but it is notable that 7% of employees have

felt prejudices from others because of their political affiliation. This fact, coupled with the

reality that four out of ten employees see benefits in having the same political affiliation as

their managers, points to a politicized civil service system. However, only 7% of those

questioned answered affirmatively to the inquiry of whether the civil service served obscure

interests, rather than the interests of the state or citizens. 23

4.2.6 Transparency

The recruitment process is relatively transparent. The main source of information on

vacancies is the local press. However, personal connections still play an important role in the

recruitment process, with one fifth of respondents using informal sources to learn about

vacancies, as shown in Table 4.4.

Article 51, paragraph 4 of the Civil Service Law (as amended up to 2004) states that the

details regarding examinations for recruitment in the public service are published in the

Official Gazette at least 30 days before the test date. At the same time, article 5, paragraph 3
This form of discrimination is not directed against a certain age group. The correlation between respon-
dent's age and whether they felt discriminated against because of their age is only 0.03.
When asked whether the civil service worked for citizens, 60% of respondents answered affirmatively and
when asked whether it served the interests of the state, 30% responded 'y es -'

Table 4.4. Transparency of Recruitment in t h e R o m a n i a n Local Civil Service

Type of Civil Servant

High-level civil servant Low-level civil servant

Local press 37.18% 40.98%

Institution bulletin board 26.93% 29.03%

Relatives and friends 19.23% 21.27%

Local Official Gazette 1.28% 1.08%

National Official Gazette 0.64% 1.19%

Other sources 11.54% 5.02%

No answer 3.2% 1.43%

Total 100% 100%

states that examinations take place according to the principles of open competition,

transparency, professional skills and knowledge, and equal access to public service jobs for all

candidates who meet the requirements. Table 4.4 shows however that very few candidates use

the Official Gazette to learn about job vacancies. The official Gazette is not widely

distributed, which may explain why almost 20% of employees have acquired information

through relatives and friends.

Knowledge, experience, and skills are the most important considerations in getting hired,

but four out of ten civil servants reckon that "connections" (i.e. who you know) play an

important role in the recruitment process. Also, a quarter of respondents report that a

candidate's political affiliation is important or very important for being hired in the public

administration. 24 Moreover, 12% of interviewees contend that it is necessary to offer bribes in

order to get hired in a public institution (see Figure 4.3).

4.2.7 Accountability

The survey does not contain many questions that address the issue of accountability. From

the little information it does contain, the level of accountability in the Romanian civil service
Similarly, 55% of interviewees report that political factors influence hiring decisions in the institutions
where they work.

Figure 4.3. Factors Important in t h e Hiring P r o c e s s
Note: The remaining up to 100% is represented by "No Response."

Not very important Slightly important Important I I Very important

Skills knowledge, and

exptrienee MM >&
Knowing peoptein
the same institution *-a

Family connections wt> i :.<,

Political affiliation )ii%

grifees er"|ifts'* offered 13%

to current employees
0% 25% 50% 75% 100%

appears low. Only half of those civil servants surveyed would consider denouncing illegal acts

without fear of repercussions. Also, one third of respondents estimate that the conflicts of

interest are widespread in the public administration.

4.2.8 Conclusions

This civil service survey reveals a series of problems confronting the Romanian local public

administration, ranging from managerial deficiencies to arbitrariness and even illegalities in

the exercise of working relationships. International organizations generally use the term

limited administrative capacity to describe such an institutional background. From a policy

perspective, this survey prompts two significant findings. First, the rift between the

institutional environment created through legislation and the lack of progress in institutional

performance (as pictured in Figure 4.1) reinforces the idea that institutional reform cannot be

reduced to a series of legislative acts, but presupposes a concerted effort to ensure the

enforcement of the law and the respect for the law by all actors involved in the process.

Second, the survey shows that the institutional environment greatly influences performance

and that public officials are not inherently rapacious rent-seekers. Instead, civil servants

respond to the incentive structures they face. The incentive system as well as the institutional

environment may differ from country to country: Romanian civil servants respond best to

increases in salaries, b u t other civil servants may see other factors as having a positive effect

on their performance and integrity.

4.3 Findings in Other Countries

The Romanian case study raises several questions. First, are the problems plaguing the

Romanian civil service unique to this post-communist country, or do they exist in other

post-communist democracies? And second, are these features specific only to CEE or do they

travel across regions? To capture this variation across countries (and regions), I turn to the

World Bank Public Officials' Survey, a series of surveys designed to convey information on the

views of public officials on their institutional environment. The surveys were carried out in

1999 and 2000 in fifteen countries. 25 The main findings are summarized in Table 4.5. 2 6

4.3.1 Post-Communist P h e n o m e n o n

Comparing the information from Tables 4.1 and 4.5, we notice that there are several common

patterns that transcend national borders. The civil service systems in Albania, Bulgaria, and

Romania share a number of features:

1. Politicization of the civil service

2. Lack of transparency in the recruitment system

3. Corruption as a significant problem in the civil service

4. Lack of adequately prepared civil servants

5. Low policy credibility

6. Lack of accountability in the civil service

7. Insufficient resources
The countries included in the study are: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia,
Bulgaria, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Indonesia, Kenya, Moldova, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St.
Vincent and the Grenadines. The data on Moldova, Dominica, Grenada, and St. Vincent and Grenadines are
Unfortunately the raw data are not available. Efforts to contact the investigators were unsuccessful in
procuring the raw data. The following conclusions are based on a World Bank research paper written by
the main investigators (Manning et al. 2000) and on a summary of the data for each country, available at
I have excluded the East Caribbean countries because the questions used in these countries differ signifi-
cantly from those used in surveys in the other regions.

Table 4.5. Cross-Regional Findings.
Note: The colors indicate the different geographical regions the countries belong to: black
for Central and Eastern Europe, green for Africa, red for Latin America, and blue for

Partially Not
Assertion Confirmed
Confirmed Confirmed
The recruitment system is not transparent Albania Argentina
nor merit-based Bolivia Guyana
Corruption is a significant problem in the Bolivia
civil service Guyana
The civil service is politicized Albania Bolivia Guyana
Public officials are poorly prepared for Albania Bulgaria Bangladesh
their jobs Bolivia Guyana Indonesia
Bolivia Bangladesh
Policy credibility is low
Guyana. Indonesia
Public jobs are attractive/civil servants do
Guyana Bolivia
not want to move to the private sector
Civil service does not have adequate Bulgaria Albania Argentina
resources Kenya. Guyana Indonesia
There are few accountability mechanisms Argentina
There are few or no incentives for good Argentina Bangladesh
performance Guyana Indonesia
Management in the civil service is deficient Guyana

These similarities are not surprising. All three countries compared (Albania, Bulgaria, and

Romania) have inherited similar administrative structures and procedures. Some of the

specificities of the communist bureaucracies were the dominance of the party bureaucracy

over the state bureaucracy, the role of the administration as an instrument of suppression, a

lack of specific civil service employment conditions, and institutionalized fragmentation.

These factors combined to create a highly specific starting position for the development of

permanent professional and impartial civil service systems, which started after 1989.

Although all three countries have adopted civil service laws that create a meritocratic

system (as detailed in Chapter 3), the outcome of the reform process is similar: a politicized,

corrupt, and underfunded administration. The results confirm once more the futility of the

reform process in the absence of political will, resources, and an enforcement mechanism.

4.3.2 Other Regions

The situation in the other geographical regions is similarly bleak. There are certain

intra-regional differences (lack of transparency in recruiting is a problem in Bolivia, but not so

in Argentina and Guyana; the civil service in Guyana lacks necessary resources, but it is

adequately funded in Argentina), but the intra- and inter-regional similarities are bigger than

the differences.

Some important similarities within the Latin American sample (Argentina, Bolivia, and

Guyana) are the characterization of corruption as a serious problem and the questionable

credibility of government policies. The Asian countries (Bangladesh and Indonesia) display

civil services in which the public servants are adequately prepared for their jobs and face

credible policies, but also are subject to few mechanisms of accountability and few incentives

for good performance (these are also the main inter-regional points of disparity, differentiating

the Asian countries from the rest).

Across regions, corruption is singled out as a significant hindrance in the civil service, the

systems lack mechanisms of accountability, and the management work is deficient. These

common points are impressive considering the large variation between the countries analyzed:

they vary in population size (from 740,000 in Guyana to 223 million in Indonesia), gross

domestic product per capita (from $419 in Bangladesh to $8,700 in Argentina), and Freedom

House democracy scores (from 4 in Bangladesh to 1.5 in Bulgaria).

4.4 W h a t Explains the Quality of Bureaucracy?

If the adoption of a law does not account for the quality of bureaucracy, what does? What

explains whether the administrative apparatus improves in one country, but not in another?

In the next chapter I argue that electoral competition can constrain the politicization of the

civil service when they are institutionalized. Institutionalization means that elections present

voters with a choice among a manageable number of stable parties with familiar

coalition-building partners.

All data are for 2006. Data are from the World Development Indicators (World Bank) and Freedom
House. A lower Freedom House score indicates a more democratic system.

Chapter 5

Reform and Party Competition

Whoever seizes the state, seizes the day.

Joel Hellman

The analysis in Chapter 3 revealed the meritocratic nature of the CEE civil service

systems, as designed by the civil service acts. However, both institutional performance

indicators and accounts in the literature (Verheijen 1999 and Nunberg 1999, among others)

show that these laws had little empirical impact on the quality of bureaucratic institutions.

This lack of effect is intriguing, as civil service reform has many times been heralded as the

main goal of governance. 1

As noted in the previous chapter, these laws have been adopted over a wide time span (see

Figure 5.1). While some countries have rushed to adopt civil service acts soon after becoming

democratic (e.g., Hungary and Latvia), other countries have postponed this process for a

decade (e.g., Romania) or more (e.g., the Czech Republic and Slovakia). Moreover, some

countries have adopted multiple civil service acts within the span of a decade (e.g., Poland

and Croatia).

This variation in the date of adoption of civil service acts is intriguing particularly in light

of the similarities observed between the laws themselves. Why did Hungary adopt its (only)

civil service law in 1992, just two years after the first free elections? What made Poland adopt

two different laws within an eighteen month period? 2 Why did the Czech Republic and

Slovakia wait for almost ten years after becoming independent, democratic states, to regulate
'"The passing of civil service legislation is [...] rightly seen as a vital ingredient of the reform process. A
stable, competitive, accountable and democratically reliable civil service is a pre-condition for success not
only of administrative reform, but for political stability and economic development as well" (Hesse 1998, 175).
However, "[cjivil service laws have seldom been the expected catalysts for the stabilization, depoliticization
and professionalization of the central administration. Rather than being a starting point for the development
of civil service policies, the adoption of laws has become an objective in itself. Apart from Hungary, none of
the candidate countries has come close to the development of a civil service policy, in addition to the necessary
legal framework" (Verheijen 2000, 29).
The first law was adopted on July 5, 1996 and the second one on December 18, 1998.

Figure 5.1. Timeline of Civil Service Laws in C E E (by D a t e of A d o p t i o n )

Bosnia- Romania
Herzegovina Moldova' Lithuania 2 Slovenia
Croatia Lithuania Poland Bulgaria Latvia 2 Slovakia Czech Bosnia-
Hungary Latvia Estonia Albania Poland 2 Albania 2 Macedonia Croatia 2 Republic Herzegovina 2 Montenegro Croatia 3

1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003- 2004 2005

the civil service?

Based on these empirical puzzles (an apparent lack of effect of civil service acts and a

variation in the timing of adoption of such laws), this chapter seeks to answer the following


1. What factors are important for the success of civil service reform, as measured by the

extent of patronage politics?

2. Are civil service laws necessary for constraining patronage politics?

In this chapter I quantify "success" independent from ICRG's "quality of bureaucracy"

measures by looking at the magnitude of patronage politics. Political patronage is the power

to control appointments to offices, realized on a discretionary basis, instead of on merit. As

civil service acts are designed to increase meritocracy and eliminate discretionary recruitment,

I will be able to assess whether civil service laws have a positive impact on constraining

patronage politics. 3

The answer to these questions lies in the relationship or balance between party

competition, political patronage, and the modernization of state bureaucracies. In countries

with party systems that display signs of institutionalization (e.g. low fragmentation and low

volatility), there is little political patronage, as party competition is able to constrain

patronage. In such cases, the passage of a civil service law reinforces the efforts to depoliticize

the civil service (e.g., Hungary). But the adoption of a civil service law is not a necessary

condition for constraining patronage. Party competition on its own can play that role,

limiting the extent of political patronage, even in the absence of a civil service law (e.g., the

Czech Republic). 4
For operationalization of patronage politics, please see Subsection 5.2.1.
In such systems the adoption of a civil service law that would insulate the public administration from po-

Figure 5.2. D y n a m i c s of P a t r o n a g e Politics

Timing of Adoption

Early Late

Low patronage Low patronage

High Czech Republic

Party System

High patronage High patronage

Poland Slovakia

In contrast, countries with under institutionalized party systems (with high party

fragmentation and high volatility) cannot rely upon party competition to constrain patronage

politics. In such cases, three situations can occur: (1) the passage of a civil service act is

intended to protect the governing party's (or coalition's) appointees in the administration

from future dismissal, in the event the present opposition wins the right to govern (e.g.,

Poland's first civil service law of 1996); (2) a civil service act is adopted to purge from the

civil service the employees appointed by the previous government (e.g., Poland's second civil

service law of 1998); or (3) the passage of such a law is not deemed necessary as the party in

power faces no credible opposition, and thus has little incentive to protect its appointees,

thinking it will never lose power (e.g., Slovakia pre-1998).

Figure 5.2 showcases the interplay between party system institutionalization and political

patronage. Regardless of whether a civil service law has been adopted or not, patronage

politics is most pervasive in countries with underinstitutionalized party systems and less

widespread in countries with institutionalized party systems.

litical interference is a rational measure, as it guarantees for any party that (1) the opposing party will not be
able to arbitrarily appoint and dismiss civil servants while in power, and (2) it will be able to use a function-
ing, trustworthy, and experienced bureaucracy when it governs. But a credible opposition can play the same

5.1 Case Selection

The CEE countries are ideal cases for testing the role of the party system in constraining

patronage, using controlled comparisons. To exclude rival hypotheses and focus on the effects

of party-building on the civil service, I have chosen to compare the Czech Republic, Hungary,

Poland, and Slovakia. These countries match one another closely in terms of their recent

political history (as Soviet satellite states), their rate of economic development (as the

economic leaders of post-communist Eastern Europe), and their proximity to Western Europe

(all four border West European countries). With respect to the political and cultural

characteristics, all four are primarily Catholic. Hungary and Poland shared a similar type of

communist regime, national-accommodative, while Slovakia and the Czech Republic (as part

of Czechoslovakia) were under a bureaucratic-authoritarian regime (Kitschelt et al. 1999b).

Comparisons between Hungary and Poland, on one hand, and the Czech Republic and

Slovakia, on the other hand, allow me to control for the communist regime legacy.

Hungary was the first post-communist state to adopt a civil service law. Poland followed

suit four years later (in 1996). These two countries are the early adopters of civil service

legislation. At the other end of the spectrum, the Slovak and the Czech Republics adopted

civil service legislation only under the pressure of the European Union, in 2001 and 2002,


These four cases also differ markedly in terms of how the process of party-building has

played out. Consequently, by comparing them, the analysis can focus on the key variable of

party system development. The extent of patronage politics has been most dramatic in

Slovakia, where the nationalist party of Vladimir Meciar became the dominant party,

governing in the presence of a fragmented, weak opposition. Patronage politics has also

occurred in Poland, where the party system has been overcrowded by small, organizationally

unstable parties that have produced internally divided governments and fractured oppositions.

The Hungarian and Czech experiences, while not devoid of interventions by parties seeking

patronage, have been characterized by modest (or no) expansion of the state administration.

Their party systems have been orderly and stable, by regional standards.

Lastly, by looking at a small number of cases, I can follow the civil service reform process

in more depth. The failed attempts to adopt such laws as well as the behind-the-scenes

negotiations among parties convey valuable information about the commitment of these four

governments to the reform process.

5.2 Patronage Politics

This research is inspired by Martin Shefter's (1994) thesis about the sequence of

state-building and party-building. To explain why patronage politics occurred in new

democracies, Shefter concluded that when party-building preceded the consolidation of state

bureaucracies, party builders inclined toward patronage-based strategies (Shefter 1994).

Because electoral competition was introduced before the consolidation of the post-Communist

state administrations, the door was open to patronage politics, enabling underdeveloped and

resource-seeking parties to use the administration for their own party-building (by offering

offices in exchange for party loyalty).

My research adds a caveat to this theory: the extent of party system institutionalization

explains the magnitude of patronage politics. This caveat originates from the empirical

reality: in Eastern Europe we observe variations in the magnitude of patronage politics as

well as variation in the degree of party system institutionalization. Electoral competition

constrains patronage politics, but only in the presence of an institutionalized party system. In

institutionalized party systems voters are presented with a manageable number of stable

political parties with predictable coalition-forming preferences (Mainwaring 1998). Party

systems that meet these criteria create favorable settings for coherent governments and

oppositions which voters can hold accountable.

This chapter is also an extension of previous work on the relationship between party

competition, political patronage, and the state. In a study of the Latin American

democracies, Geddes (1994) noticed that the Brazilian state in its democratic phases

oscillated between periods of effective policy-making and debilitating patrimonialism,

depending on the robustness of the party competition. Asia's new democracies have also faced

serious challenges from their inability to control patronage politics (Montinola 1999), while

political corruption in Africa is undermining the democratic institutions on that continent

(Aidt 2003; Alexander 2002). Historically, anarchic party competition led to patronage

politics in the French Third Republic, and dominant party politics in post-fascist Italy led to

unjustified state expansion (Shefter 1994). In the United States the spoils system and the

urban machine are epitomes of political parties using state resources for their own internal

party-buidling (Shefter 1994). Looking at Eastern Europe, O'Dwyer (2006) concludes that

"runaway state-building" (use of state resources for party building) was more likely to occur

in countries with weak party competition. Similarly, Grzymala-Busse (2007) concludes that

the extent of state exploitation is closely linked to the nature of party competition in CEE.

These studies look at the interplay between parties and the public administration in the

context of party-building (i.e., they focus on parties' use of state resources to build

constituencies). My research examines the relationship between parties and the civil service

from a different perspective: how the nature of the party system influences the process of civil

service reform.

5.2.1 O p e r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of P a t r o n a g e P o l i t i c s

I use two indicators to capture patronage politics: (1) extent of civil service expansion and (2)

turnover rates. Because of data limitations regarding turnover rates, I am placing more

emphasis on the growth in civil service employment.

E x p a n s i o n of t h e Civil Service

One of the ways patronage politics manifests itself is through a rapid expansion of the state

administration - an expansion that is not matched by commensurate gains in effectiveness.5

But what are the criteria for assessing rapid growth and effectiveness? I do not intend to set

an absolute threshold value for political patronage that could be applied across space and

time. Instead, I look at state expansion in relative terms, making cross-national comparisons.

For example, if the Polish and Slovak public administrations doubled in size in a ten-year

period, while the Hungarian and Czech bureaucracies (assuming they were facing the same

constraints) grew at a much slower pace (or even contracted), then we can infer that the

growth in the Polish and Slovak cases is a manifestation of patronage politics.

State expansion has been used as an indicator for political patronage by other authors. For example,
Grzymala-Busse used the expansion of the "public administration" (as measured under ILO guidelines) to
measure the extent of patronage politics. This ILO category is too inclusive as, in addition to the civil service,
it encompasses the number of employees in the defense and social security sectors as well. I follow O'Dwyer's
(2006) measurement of civil service employees, and complement his data with new data from Nunberg (1999)
and the SIGMA reports.

But how much of this state expansion is a sign of patronage politics and how much is

state-building? Even in patronage-ridden political systems, some portion of administrative

expansion will serve functional needs (to provide more state services) rather than merely

political ones. Without doubt, a considerable part of these states' post-communist expansion

was necessitated by the transition to a market economy. Moreover, some authors contend that

although the communist state employed a large proportion of the labor force, the core public

administration (the civil service) was small compared to the rates of OECD member states

(Seleny 2007).

Distinguishing between functional and political justifications for administrative expansion

is not an easy task. My research design can help: by comparing countries facing the same

geopolitical and economic structural constraints, big differences in state expansion can be

attributed to political factors. In particular, if Eastern European states, each possessing

similar levels of economic development and facing the same task of transforming a command

economy, experienced different expansion rates, then it is plausible that functional

imperatives were not the only ones at work. If, furthermore, there is additional empirical

evidence suggesting that patronage politics is more widespread in those countries whose

administrations expanded most rapidly, then the case for patronage-based expansion becomes

much stronger.

Figure 5.3 shows that a higher number of civil servants is not necessarily associated with

economic growth. The most striking case is that of Hungary, where the relationship between

number of civil servants (per 1000 people) and economic growth (as measured by growth in

GDP per capita in constant $2000) is negative: higher levels of economic growth are

associated with lower levels of employment in the civil service. On the other hand, Poland

displays a positive relationship between the rate of growth in the civil service and economic

growth. Additionally, if we follow the year by year data (in Figure 5.4) we find that state

expansion is not always associated with economic expansion. For example, Figure 5.4 shows

that between 1993 and 1998 both the Czech Republic and Slovakia experienced cycles of

economic growth followed by economic decline. Yet, while the Czech civil service remained

relatively constant, the Slovak civil service expanded rapidly. Most notably, the two countries

started with a similar proportion of civil servants, suggesting that in Slovakia the civil service

expansion was not a prerequisite for economic growth.

Figure 5.3. Relationship B e t w e e n Civil Service E x p a n s i o n and E c o n o m i c
Note: Economic data are from the World Bank (World Development Indicators). Data on civil
service employment are from O'Dwyer (2006), Nunberg (1999), and SIGMA.

Czech Republic Hungary

r- a-

6 B 10 -6 -* -2 0 2 4 6 B 10

Growth in GDP per capita Growth in GDP per capita

(constant 2000 USS) (constant 2000 USS)

Poland Slovakia

-12 -10 -8 -12 -10 -S -6 -2 0 2

Growth in GDP per capita Growth in GDP per capita

(constant 2000 USS) (constant 2000 USS)

Both the Hungarian and the Polish economies grew throughout the 1990s. However,

despite this parallel, civil service employment in the two countries followed different patterns:

while the Hungarian civil service contracted slightly, the Polish administration grew

constantly. One important observation is that in 1990 the proportion of civil servants per

capita in Hungary was five times higher than that in Poland. However, the Czech case shows

that economic growth can occur at lower levels of civil servants per capita and secondary

information in the Polish case supports the premise that state expansion did not occur for

functional reasons (see Section 5.4 for details).

Turnover R a t e s

Using the turnover rate (defined as the ratio of employees replaced in a given time period to

the total number of employees) as an indicator for patronage politics has one great advantage

over measures of bureaucratic expansion: it captures purges from the state administration

Figure 5.4. Civil Service Expansion and E c o n o m i c G r o w t h by Year in t h e
Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Note: Economic data are from the World Bank (World Development Indicators). Data on civil
service employment are from O'Dwyer (2006), Nunberg (1999), and SIGMA.
Legend: denotes the Number of Employees per 1,000 Citizens; stands for Growth in Gross
Domestic Product

Czech Republic Hungary

Poland Slovakia


,*' ^ ^


1992 1994 1996 1998 2000

and the replacement of officials with party favorites, even when such purges do not lead to an

increase in the number of employees.

A moderate turnover rate (some authors put it at around 5-8%) is considered 'healthy' as

it means new expertise enters the system. However, high turnover rates are usually an

indicator of dismissals for political reasons. One can expect the turnover rate to be high at the

beginning of the transition period, as new governments try to replace (especially high-level)

bureaucrats with officials they can trust. But as the democratic institutions consolidate, the

turnover rate should level off and approach the rates observed in established democracies.

There are no data on turnover rates for Poland. World Bank reports conclude that the

turnover rate in Poland is high, with the highly skilled and senior civil servants being more

likely to leave the public administration (Nunberg 1999; World Bank 2006a). However, no

concrete number is reported.

Table 5.1. Turnover R a t e s in t h e Czech Republic, 1994-1997.
Note: The data are from Vidlakova (1999).

Office Year
1994 1995 1996 1997
Territorial Financial Offices 8% 8.7% 7.2% 7%
Customs Services 7.3% 7.5% 7.1% 6.6%

Table 5.2. Turnover R a t e s in Hungary, 2000-2003.

Note: The data are from Gajduschek (2007).

Entries/Exits Year
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
Entries 4.1% 5.5% 6.6% 6.5% 6.9%
Exits 7.9% 7.2% 21% 4.7% 3.1%

In Hungary and the Czech Republic turnover rates are around 7% (see Tables 5.1 and 5.2),

in line with the levels observed in established democracies, which vary from 2% in Canada

and the United Kingdom to 10% in Sweden (Nunberg 2000, 42). The highest turnover rate

observed in Hungary, 21% in 2001, coincided with a shakeup in the governing coalition caused

by a series of political scandals. This result reiterates the impact of party competition on the

civil service. The turnover rate did not increase after parliamentary elections (when we would

be more likely to see politically motivated replacements) in either the Czech Republic or

Hungary (1996 was an electoral year in the Czech Republic and 2002 was an electoral year in


In Slovakia, turnover rates are reported to be much higher (see Table 5.3). While the data

available are only for 1995, it shows a rate two times higher than that in the Czech Republic,

for the same year. At the end of 1994 and continuing in 1995, the newly reinstated Meciar

government made it a goal to eliminate all non-HZDS supporters from the public

administration, while simultaneously allocating positions to political cronies (Grzymala-Busse


5.2.2 Consequences of Patronage Politics

Why and how does patronage politics matter? One concern involves the matter of wasted

resources and the costs associated with unnecessary and/or underutilized personnel. Such a

Table 5.3. Turnover R a t e s in Slovakia in 1995, by Level of E d u c a t i o n .
Note: The data are from Nemec (1999).

Entries/Exits Level of E d u c a t i o n
Primary Secondary University Average
Entries 35.6% 15.2% 22.4% 24.2%
Exits 24.3% 6.9% 18.5% 16.6%

misuse of funds is undesirable in any state, but even more so in a country facing economic

challenges, as is the case for transitioning democracies. However, the presence of patronage

politics has even greater ramifications for effective state governance and economic

development. Patronage politics is a clear obstacle to the process of bureaucratic

rationalization, which social scientists (starting with Weber) have identified as a crucial

attribute of state-building (Silberman 1993; Skocpol 1985). In a study of 35 less developed

countries, Evans and Rauch (1999, 2000) show that "Weberianness" (or bureaucratic

rationalization) is the key to effective governance and economic growth. Over time acute

patronage politics weakens the foundations of democracy itself, both in established

democracies and especially in nascent ones, by violating the democratic norm of inclusion

(Warren 2004). By undermining state effectiveness, patronage hinders governments from

delivering public goods, which in turn breeds general disillusionment with democracy. Such

"Weimar democracies" may have a hard time resisting internal challenges from non-democrats

as well as avoiding a wave of reverse democratization (Huntington 1991). 6

5.2.3 Alternative Explanations

What are some other possible explanations for bureaucratic expansion in the post-communist

countries, and in these four countries in particular? The comparative literature offers a

number of alternatives. The goal is not to rule them out definitively but to highlight their
The effects of patronage are more extensive. For example, Johnson et al. (1997) showed that businesses
in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have responded to politicization by going "underground." In-
stead of registering their activities, managers prefer not to pay taxes and not to benefit from key publicly pro-
vided services, such as legal enforcement of contracts. The result is a "bad equilibrium" with low tax revenue,
high unofficial economy as a percentage of GDP, and low quality of publicly provided services (see also Frye
and Shleifer 1997).
The quality of governance and public institutions plays a critical role in other areas as well. In a study on
Peru, Menendez and Recanatini (2002) provide empirical evidence that access to public services is affected by
the quality of governance.
For more on the negative effects of corruption see Azfar (2001), Knack and Keefer (1995), Lambsdorff (1999),
Mauro (1995, 1998), and Olson et al. (2000).

shortcomings in explaining the variation observed in my sample of countries.

1. Economic Factors. Some authors point to the demands of the transformation from a

command economy to a market economy to account for the expansion of the administration.

Brym contends that while the Russian bureaucracy is expanding in a manner akin to a

"Hydra that grows two heads for each one that is cut off," the functioning of a democratic

political system requires "substantial additional bureaucratic support" (2004,94-95). This

explanation does account for part of the growth. But the magnitude and speed of the Polish

and Slovak expansions go well beyond the demands of economic restructuring. Also, why do

we see such a different pattern in Hungary and the Czech Republic, which underwent a

similar transformation process? One cannot assume (and the discussion for each case will

confirm) that administrative reform in these countries was insulated from the ambitions of

political parties seeking to benefit from state restructuring.

Another strand of the economic explanation asserts that economic development generates

demand for greater levels of government services - what is known as Wagner's Law

(Gimpelson and Treisman 2002). While there is some empirical evidence to support this

hypothesis (Schiavo-Campo et al. 1997), Wagner's Law cannot explain the phenomenon

observed in post-communist Europe. Hungary has a higher GDP per capita than both Poland

and Slovakia, yet a much lower rate of administrative expansion. 7 And while the Slovak and

Polish economies grew at a higher rate than the Hungarian economy (5.7%, 6.06%, and 4.28%

respectively 8 ), the difference in growth cannot account entirely for the different rates of

expansion of the state administration. For comparison, in Bulgaria between 1990 and 1995

the central administration expanded by almost 33% while its economy contracted by 9%

(Verheijen 1999, 126). We can conclude that rapid state expansion is as likely in countries

experiencing economic growth as it is in countries undergoing economic strains.

2. Institutional Design. Another explanation may lie in the formal institutions these

countries adopted after the collapse of Communism. All four republics are parliamentary

systems (although Poland flirted with presidentialism at one point, the system remained

According to the International Financial Statistics Reports (available from the International Monetary
Fund) in 1994 the GDP per capita in Hungary was $4,010, in Poland was $2,686, and in the Slovak Republic
was $2,897. In 1999 the GDP per capita in Hungary was $4,685, in Poland was $4,448, and in the Slovak Re-
public was $3,823.
International Financial Statistics data for 1994-1999.

All four states currently have legislation regulating the civil service. Hungary adopted a

civil service law in 1992, being the first of the post-Communist states to do so. In Poland, a

civil service act was rapidly pushed through the parliament in 1996 before the elections, only

to be annulled by the new incoming government. Eventually, in 1998 a civil service act was

adopted. In Slovakia, such a law was adopted only in 2001 with a corresponding law in the

Czech Republic in 2002, as a result of intense pressure from the European Union.

One may be inclined to attribute the lack of patronage politics in Hungary to the early

adoption of the Legal Status of Public Officials Act (1992). If we assume that regulating the

status of the civil servant is the necessary and sufficient condition for curbing patronage

politics, we cannot explain the case of the Czech Republic. Between 1993 and 2000 the state

administration contracted by 0.5%. However, it was only in 2002 that the Czech Republic

adopted a civil service act, and only to comply with the requirement for accession to the

European Union. On the other hand, Poland adopted its first civil service law in 1996, and

the civil service continued to expand until 2000, the latest year for which data are available

(see Figures 5.4 and 5.4).

3. The New State Factor. The Slovak Republic gained its independence in 1993. Can the

growth in the central administration be attributed to the requirements of a new state? I

believe not. On the one hand, Czechoslovakia was a federal state in which each of the two

republics had its own state apparatus. On the other hand, as seen in Figure 5.4, most of the

expansion did not take place immediately after 1993 (which could have been attributed to the

creation of new institutions necessary for an independent state). Instead, the growth was

concentrated in a two-year period which coincided with the "reform of the public

administration" undertaken by Meciar, as detailed in the discussion below. Also, the Czech

Republic became an independent state in 1993 as well, yet it has not experienced the

administrative expansion observed in the Slovak case.

4- Accession to the European Union (EU). Joining the EU required states to strengthen

their government institutional capabilities and accelerate public administration reforms.

However, the reform process was driven by domestic political factors. While the prospect of

joining the EU appeared in the early 1990s, it was only in 1997 that the European

Commission began formal evaluations of the applicant states. EU accession often served as an

excuse for governments to undertake patronage-enhancing "reforms" while doing little to

improve state capacity (Goetz 2001). Moreover, if the effect existed, all countries should have

felt it equally, as all four countries became EU members on May 1, 2004.

5.3 Party System Characteristics

By 1992 the party systems in the CEE countries already displayed different degrees of

institutionalization. The first parliamentary elections were "founding elections" in which

voters were generally given very few options, the most common of which was having to choose

between repackaged communist elites and communist dissidents. Overall, the euphoria of

regime change acted as a substitute for party organization. The successor of the Communist

Party benefited from having the most developed organizational base, while the anticommunist

blocs often relied on powerful personalities, such as Vaclav Havel in the Czech Republic and

Lech Walesa in Poland, whose authority derived in great part from their 'moral'

qualifications, in place of party programs (Kitsckelt 1995, 1999b).

As often happens after founding elections, political elites who were once united by their

shared opposition to communism became dissatisfied with their party and other coalition

members once they took power (or opposition), resulting in the fracturing of the initial

democratic movements into many new parties. In some systems, such new parties have built

stable electoral bases over time, surviving the transition period (see the Socialist Party in

Hungary, for example). In other cases, parties entered and exited the political arena with

impressive speed, depriving voters of the chance to hold parties accountable for their actions

(as was the case with Poland in the first democratic years).

I use electoral data from the following three sources to assess the extent of party system

institutionalization: (1) h t t p : //www. e s s e x . a c . u k / e l e c t i o n s / ; (2)

h t t p : / / w w w . e l e c t i o n g u i d e . o r g / ; and (3) national election commissions' websites. The

measures I employ (fragmentation, dominance, and volatility) are only partially useful in

showing the extent of party system institutionalization. For example, the measure of

fragmentation does not convey the degree of cohesion in a party formed of multiple other

parties (see for example the discussion on SDK in Slovenia, a make believe party which

consisted of five parties and which splintered three years after it was formed). To make up for

these measures' limitations, I discuss in depth the evolution of the party system for each of

my cases.

5.3.1 Measures of Party System Institutionalization

1. Party System Fragmentation. Having a large number of parties leads to overall

fractionalization, a feature of underinstitutionalized party systems. I capture the degree of

fragmentation of a party system using Laakso and Taagepera's (1979) index of the number of

effective parties:

Number of effective parties = ==

E Pi
where pj is the fraction of parliamentary seats won by party i.

In established party systems this index is easily quantified. However, in

underinstitutionalized party systems it may prove difficult to determine what should be

counted as a party. Many electoral alliances have formed with the sole goal of passing the

electoral threshold or ensuring that the member parties win enough votes to gain the right to

form the government. Once in power, these alliances often show little programmatic cohesion

and the constituent parties behave as individual actors. Therefore, when electoral data are

available, I count such groupings as multiple parties, taking into consideration the

postelection allocation of parliamentary seats.

2. Dominance. Dominance refers to the electoral strength of the largest party (or electoral

coalition) relative to the next most popular alternative. It can be measured as the difference

in vote share between these two entities (Sartori 1976). The greater the vote differential, the

more remote the possibility that the governing party may lose future elections. Hence, the

greater its dominance will be over the opposition.

3. Electoral Volatility. Volatility measures the degree of party system stability (Toole 2000).

In volatile systems, parties lack stable support bases and their vote shares fluctuate from one

election to the next. Some parties disappear between electoral cycles, while others are

punished or rewarded by voters for their activity.

Electoral volatility is calculated using Pedersen's (1979) formula. Let pi>t stand for the

percentage of the vote obtained by party i in election t. Then the change in the strength of i

since the previous election will be:

&Pi,t = Pi,t ~ Pi,t-i

For the entire party system, the total net change (TNC) for election t will be:

TNCt = Y^ \APiA where
0 < TNCt < 200

and n stands for the total number of parties competing in the two elections. Taking into

account that the net gains for winning parties are numerically equal to the net losses of the

parties that were defeated in the election, we can calculate the volatility for election t (Vt) as:

Vt = -1 where 0 < Vt < 100

Volatility shapes the time horizons of government coalition members. In highly volatile

systems, parties are more likely to engage in patronage during their tenure in government,

using state resources to compensate for a lack of organizational power. In systems with low

levels of volatility, parties can rely on a more stable vote share, diminishing the need to

engage in patronage. 9

5.4 Poland: Fragmented P a r t y System

5.4.1 Evolution of the Party System

Throughout the 1990s, the Polish party system has been underinstitutionalized, generating

unstable governments and fractious opposition parties over time. Each national election in

Poland produced a major shift in both the organization of individual parties and the party

system as a whole. Consequently, both the governing coalitions and the opposition parties

were fluid, weakly organized, and fragmented. This made for large and gridlock-prone

coalitions that, in the absence of common ideology, were held together by their desire to stay

in power. For voters, the large number of parties in governing coalitions weakened voters'
At the same time, low levels of volatility increase the fear of electoral retribution.

Table 5.4. N u m b e r of Governments in P o s t - C o m m u n i s t P o l a n d .
Note: The time periods correspond to parliamentary terms. In 2007, the parliament voted for its
own dissolution and elections before the term were organized.

Years Number of Governments

1989-1991 2
1991-1993 3
1993-1997 3
1997-2001 1
2001-2005 2
2005-2007 2
Total 13

ability to hold parties accountable, creating an incentive for each party to free-ride and use its

access to state resources for patronage (Berenson 2006).

Thus, the party competition in Poland offered voters few avenues to hold parties

accountable for the quality of their governance. This fragmentation of the party system has

led to thirteen different governments in sixteen years, six of which occurred from 1991 to 1997

(see Table 5.4). Moreover, only one of these thirteen democratic governments, that of Jerzy

Buzek, survived for the duration of an entire parliamentary term.

Several events contributed to the fragmentation of the Polish party system. The

Communist Party lost the first partially free elections of 1989 to the Solidarity (Solidarnosc),

which won 99% of the Senate (upper house) seats and 35% of the Sejm (lower house) seats.

Although the elections were not entirely democratic, they paved the way for a peaceful

transition to democracy, which was substantiated after the Polish parliamentary elections of

1991. But the elections of October 27, 1991 precipitated the disintegration of the Solidarity

because of: (1) a lack of cohesion among members, except in the case of their mutual

opposition to the Communist Party and (2) an electoral law based on pure proportional

representation, which encouraged the Solidarity factions to run on their own (Szczerbiak

2001). With no minimum threshold for parliamentary representation, twenty-nine parties

entered the parliament without any one party winning more than 13% of the electoral vote.

This led to unstable (and unpredictable) government majorities, with three changes of

government within a seven month period.

The 1993 elections brought two unexpected developments in Polish politics. First, the

Communist Party, reorganized into the Social Democracy of the Republic of Poland Party

(SdRP), returned to government as part of a heterogeneous coalition (the Democratic Left

Alliance, SLD) comprised of more than 30 left-wing parties. Second, a majority of the

Solidarity successor parties failed to pass the newly instituted electoral threshold for

parliamentary representation. Only two post-Solidarity parties gained parliamentary seats:

Lech Walesa's Non-Party Bloc for Support of Reform (BBWR) and the Democratic Union

(UD). In terms of the overall vote, 35.2% of all votes were wasted on parties that failed to win

seats in parliament.

After the 1993 elections only six parties or coalitions had parliamentary representation, in

addition to representatives of the German minority. With only 37.17% of the parliamentary

seats, SLD entered into a governing coalition with the communist successor Polish Peasants'

Party (PSL). 1 0 PSL gained a reputation for political opportunism, having formerly partnered

with the Solidarity. The three SLD-led governments between 1993 and 1997 were internally

divided, as demonstrated by the premature collapse of two of them in a parliament that did

not include a strong opposition (together, SLD and PSL controlled almost 66% of the

parliamentary seats).

The 1997 elections brought another reorganization of the party system. Many

post-Solidarity political groups coalesced into the Electoral Action Solidarity (AWS). AWS

was a newer version of the anti-communist electoral coalition that ruled between 1989 and

1991, comprised of 36 different political groupings (Toole 2000). AWS formed an unstable

government with the Freedom Union Party (UW), which left the government in 2000. n The

1997-2001 parliament looked very similar to the 1991-1993 legislature, with the return of a

plethora of post-Solidarity parties.

The 2001 parliamentary elections produced yet another realignment of the Polish party

system, as the AWS failed to pass the electoral threshold and the SLD won the elections in an

alliance with the Labor Union (UP). The 2001 elections also saw the appearance of four new

parliamentary parties, three of which had been founded less than a year before the elections. 12

After the 2005 elections, for the first time in Poland's post-communist era, no new parties

had gained representation in the legislature. The same six parties from the 2001-2005 term
The name Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe is sometimes translated as Polish People's Party.
During the 1997-2001 parliamentary term, AWS controlled 43.69% of the parliamentary seats, while UW
controlled 13.04% of the seats.
The four new parties were Platforma Obywatelska (PO), Samoobrona Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej (SRP),
Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc (PiS), and Liga Polskich Rodzin (LPR).

Table 5.5. Characteristics of t h e Polish P a r t y S y s t e m .
Note: These numbers are based on the results of elections for the Polish Lower House, the Sejm.

Party System Election Year

Characteristic 1990 1994 1998 2002 2005

Fragmentation 10.86 3.87 2.95 3.59 4.26

Vote Differential 0.43% 8.48% 8.04% 32.83% 3.78%

Volatility - 31.73% 41.40% 33.48% 28.03%

were represented in the Sejm. In the first year after the elections, the Law and Justice Party

(PiS) formed a minority government. In 2006 it entered into a governing coalition with the

populist Self-Defense of the Republic of Poland Party (SRP) and the nationalist League of

Polish Families (LPR). Association with these parties, on the margins of Polish politics,

harmed PiS's reputation. When accusations of corruption and sexual harassment against the

leader of SRP surfaced, PiS chose to end the coalition and called for new elections. While PiS

gathered 32.1% of the votes in the 2007 elections (an improvement over the 27% obtained in

the 2005 elections), the election was a defeat for PiS. The Civic Platform (PO) won the

elections with 41.5% of the votes.

One can say that the only constants in the Polish legislature have been the successor to the

Communist Party (SLD) and the representatives of the German minority (who do not have to

meet the requirements regarding electoral thresholds). Table 5.5 presents a summary of the

characteristics of the Polish party system.

The image painted by Table 5.5 is that of a party system in which no party possessed a

significant electoral advantage. 13 As noted in the previous discussion, the party system was

much more fractionalized than the numbers would indicate. For example, both SLD (winner

in 1993 and 2001) and AWS (winner in 1997) were electoral alliances formed of multiple

political groups which had little ideological affinity.14

The SLD-UP Alliance had a 32.83% advantage over PO in the 2001 elections. However, the alliance was
deeply divided. For example, the alliance was organized in four separate caucuses in the legislature (Zubek
I was not able to obtain data regarding seat allocation among coalition members to calculate the accurate
level of fragmentation.
For comparison, Linz and Stepan (1996) found that between 1979-1989, France and Portugal had fragmenta-
tion levels of 3.2 and 3.6, respectively (1996, 277).

The volatility measure paints a more accurate image of the Polish party system,

characterized by unstable parties often lasting for just one parliamentary term. Parties and

alliances could see an aggregate gain in vote share of as much as 43.69% from one election to

the next (as AWS did in the 1997 elections). By comparison, Mainwaring reports levels of

9.7% for the advanced industrial democracies, and 25% for the Latin American democracies

(1998, 71).

In conclusion, the political arrangements of the transition grew out of the semi-democratic

agreement forged in the 1989 Roundtable discussions between the Solidarity movement and

the then communist government. Parties were highly fragmented and ideologically fluid, often

associating in broad fronts that included groups with widely divergent political and social

bases. The result was a series of unstable governments characterized by a rapid succession of

fragile and often unorthodox ruling coalitions, and a lack of ongoing, consistent administrative

reform policy.

5.4.2 Civil Service Reform

Successive governments have taken quite disparate views on which, if any, administrative

changes were desirable, creating instability in the Polish civil service. The July 5, 1996 Civil

Service Act adopted by the SLD-PSL coalition was quickly repealed by the AWS-UW coalition

and replaced with the December 18, 1998 version of the law. In 2006, the PiS-SRP-LPR

governing coalition completely modified the law yet again (Majcherkiewicz 2008).

The first steps toward civil service reform were taken in 1991 and 1993 (Taras 1993, Wiatr

1995). However, the fragmentation of political power, government instability (five

governments in four years), and a lack of political backing from the parliament resulted in a

lost opportunity for the quick depoliticization and professionalization of the civil service. 15

When the parliament passed the Civil Service Act in 1996, Poland was praised for being

"well ahead of most other countries in the region" in the process of developing a professional

government service corps (Nunberg 1999, 44). 16 Yet, the law's implementation was stalled,
The Bielecki government had prepared a Civil Service Act in 1991, but it was rejected by the highly frag-
mented Sejm. The next draft was prepared by Hanna Suchocka's government in 1993, and it included a com-
prehensive set of public administration reforms. However, when the post-communist Pawlak government came
to power the whole set of administrative reforms was rejected.
Nunberg praised the law as being progressive, providing the legal basis for a politically neutral civil ser-
vice, creating an organizational structure for ongoing civil service management, and establishing the principles
of recruitment and promotion based on merit (Nunberg 1999, 44).

primarily on the grounds that it was politically biased; favoring former communist cadres and

largely excluding former communist opposition members from professional administrative

positions. However, the law was an important step in creating a modern bureaucracy by

separating politics from public administration, with secondary legislation clearly identifying

politically dependent positions in the administration (Majcherkiewicz 2008, 144).

Under the newly adopted legislation, directors general (heads of institutions), who hold the

most senior administrative positions in the Polish civil service, were to preserve their positions

regardless of government changes after parliamentary elections. However, immediately

preceding the 1997 elections the SLD-PSL coalition replaced 7 1 % of directors general. These

changes caused even more outrage because of the fact that many of the newly appointed civil

servants were former communist apparatchiks who had abruptly resigned from their party and

had quickly reinvented themselves as apolitical civil servants (Zubek 2001).

Consequently, after AWS won the right to form the government with UW in the 1997

elections, the Buzek government withheld the nominations and proposed a new law, passed by

the parliament in December 1998. As proof of the law's strong partisan nature, all AWS and

UW members of the parliament present during the vote supported the law, while an

overwhelming majority of the SLD and PSL deputies voted against it. 1 7 Despite political

differences between the reformers of 1996 and 1998, some parts of the institutional framework

were preserved. For example, in both acts a clear separation was made between the political

and administrative spheres. In practice, however, the civil service was not immune to political

interference. Article 144a from December 2001 is an example of an attempt by the Miller

government to politicize the administration, by withdrawing the requirement for public

competitions for senior administrative positions (Majcherkiewicz 2006). 18 A year later, the

amendment was declared unconstitutional by the Polish Constitutional Court, which found

that the amendment was in violation of the constitutional principle of equal access based on


With a new governing coalition (PiS-SRP-LPR), in 2006 the law suffered extensive
Only one SLD deputy abstained, while 135 deputies voted against the law. Out of 19 PSL deputies, one
voted in favor of the law, while the rest voted against it. The data is available at h t t p : / / o r k a . s e j m . g o v . p l /
Miller himself was considered a communist apparatchik (Majcherkiewicz 2006). He justified the neces-
sity for direct appointments (without competition) by stating that the system of nomination to civil service
positions was too cumbersome and protracted and that it was preventing positions from being filled in time.
Nevertheless, his system led to the nomination of political appointees without any administrative experience.

revisions, which according to analysts reversed the positive trend toward professionalization.

According to Majcherkiewicz, the changes "redefined the concept of the Polish civil service by

limiting civil servants to lower administrative positions, thus reserving senior positions for

individuals with political connections," and thereby constituted a return to the communist

nomenklatura (2008, 147).

In conclusion, "plans to create a professional body of civil servants have, however, been

hindered by frequent redrafting of the relevant statutory legislation and a general reluctance

to recruit high-level officials through open competitions" (Zubek 2001, 919). During the 1990s

and continuing today, politico-administrative relations are characterized by the "persistent

influence of party politics in the management of personnel policy" (Goetz and Wollman 2001,

880) and instability (Verheijen and Rabrenovic 2001, 411) as incoming governments show

little willingness to work with the administrative staff which served their predecessors in

government. Three different legal regimes governing the civil service were instituted by three

different governing coalitions. Polish civil service laws appear to have a proprietary nature: a

particular civil service law is "our" civil service law, or "their" civil service law, depending on

whether one takes the perspective of the current government or its political opposition. 19

5.5 Hungary: Bipolar Coalitions System

5.5.1 Evolution of the Party System

In contrast to the Polish electoral system which tends to create weak governing coalitions, the

Hungarian electoral system creates very strong governments that have the support of large

parliamentary majorities. The electoral system combines individual (first-past-the-post)

constituencies, proportional representation (district lists), and national transferable voting

(national lists) in two-round elections with a five percent electoral threshold. This

arrangement can lead to "manufactured majorities," situations in which a party that has

received only a third of the popular vote can hold what is essentially a majority in parliament.

For example, in 1994, the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSzP) won only 36% of the electoral

vote but received 54% of the legislative seats. It is therefore not surprising that in the first

free elections of 1990, there were high vote differentials between the first and second largest
Toonen (1993) talks extensively about the abuse of legal instruments by goal-directed politicians in CEE.

/ Table 5.6. Characteristics of t h e Hungarian Party S y s t e m .

Party S y s t e m Election Year

Characteristic 1990 1994 1998 2002 2006

Fragmentation 3.79 2.90 3.45 2.21 2.40

Vote Differential 18.66% 36.27% 3.63% 2.59% 5.69%

Volatility - 45.34% 42.75% 22.02% 6.46%

Table 5.7. N u m b e r of Governments in P o s t - C o m m u n i s t Hungary.

Note: The time periods correspond to parliamentary terms. In December 1993, Prime Minister
Antall died and was replaced with Peter Boross.

Years Number of Governments

1990-1994 2
1994-1998 1
1998-2002 1
2002-2006 2
Total 6

parliamentary parties (see Table 5.6).

In addition to having the support of large legislative majorities, Hungarian governments

are more stable because of the adoption of the positive vote of no confidence, which conditions

the dismissal of the government, by the parliament, on the ability of the parliament to

propose a hew government. Compared to Poland's thirteen governments in a sixteen-year

span, Hungary had only six different governments (see Table 5.7).

The electoral system limits the number of parties that get seats in the legislature: only

seven parties in 1990, much fewer than the twenty-nine parties in the 1991 Polish parliament.

As the winner of the elections, the center-right Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF)

governed in coalition with the Independent Smallholders' Party (FKgP) and the Christian

Democratic People's Party (KDNP). The youth-oriented Alliance of Free Democrats (SzDSz)

was the main opposition party. In exchange for the presidential appointment of its designee,

Arpad Gonz, SzDSz acquiesced in temporarily giving up the two-thirds majority rule required

in the legislature to pass important social and economic legislation.

After the 1990 elections, MDF lost much of its support. By 2006 it controlled only 3% of

the legislative seats. However, the Hungarian party system became institutionalized over

time, with low levels of fragmentation and predictable governing coalitions. After the 1994

elections, the Socialist Party (MSzP) entered into a coalition with SzDSz, together occupying

over 70% of all legislative seats. For MSzP, which already controlled more than 50% of the

seats, the oversize coalition served two purposes: (1) increase the government's legitimacy by

diluting its post-communist label (Sandor 2001), and (2) ensure the necessary votes for the

adoption of essential economic reforms. MSzP would continue this governing partnership with

SzDSz after both the 2002 and 2006 elections.

In opposition, the Hungarian Civic Union (Fidesz) emerged as the main conservative party.

After the disappointing results obtained in the 1994 elections and with the collapse of MDF

(the main right-wing party), Fidesz changed its political position from liberal to conservative.

This shift caused a severe split in membership, with many party leaders defecting to SzDSz.

However, Fidesz won enough votes in the 1998 elections to gain the right to form the

government, in coalition with FKgP and MDF.

The Fidesz-led government, under Prime Minister Viktor Orban, was marked by numerous

political scandals which included: Orban's efforts to strengthen the position of the prime

minister to the detriment of the parliament (which was to meet only every three weeks); an

attempt to eliminate the requirement for a two-thirds majority necessary for passing

important legislation (declared non-constitutional by the Constitutional Court); allegations of

government interference in the media; and political scandals involving high-level officials with

the Hungarian oil mafia (Seleny 2007). By 2001, the numerous political scandals led to a de

facto, if not actual, breakup of the coalition that held power in Budapest. A bribery scandal

in February triggered a wave of allegations against the Independent Smallholders' Party, the

junior coalition partner. The affair resulted in the ousting of Jozsef Torgyan from both the

FKgP presidency and the top post in the Ministry of Agriculture.

The 2002 elections were heavily contested, and enjoyed record-high turnout levels (over

70%). Viktor Orban's group lost the parliamentary elections to the opposition Hungarian

Socialist Party (MSzP), which set up a coalition with its longtime ally, the liberal Alliance of

Free Democrats (SzDSz). Fidesz, however, remained the main opposition party, with 48% of

the parliamentary seats.

The MSzP-SzDSz government led by Peter Medgyessy resigned two years after taking office

under pressure from SzDSz, after allegations appeared in the Hungarian media regarding

Medgyessy's activities as a counterespionage officer prior to 1989. He was replaced by Ferenc

Gyurcsany, who is still heading the executive today. Gyurcsany faced strong popular

opposition when, after his party had won the 2006 elections, audio recordings revealed his

admission that he had lied about the state of the economy for the past two years. In spite of

popular demonstrations, he refused to resign, winning a vote of confidence in the parliament.

5.5.2 Civil Service Reform

Early in the process of transitioning to democracy, Hungary distinguished itself as a

front-runner in administrative reform among CEE countries. Hungary had many advantages

over other countries in the region. Its well-educated bureaucracy had long been exposed to

Western traditions (Nunberg 2003, 60) and the country had started a process of civil service

professionalization under the last communist government, led by Miklos Nemeth. The process

of professionalization was fostered by the measures adopted by the Kadar regime in the 1960s

when the relaxation of restrictions on university admissions led to the gradual expansion of

the professional class, an important pool for recruiting civil servants. By the 1980s, a new

group of highly trained technocrats had reached mid-level positions within the government

(see Gyorgy 1999, Nunberg 2003, and Gajduschek 2007).

By October 1989, the Nemeth government had already adopted an agenda for

administrative reform, which was started by the Antall government. Some elements (e.g.,

downsizing) of the reform package were pursued much more intensely than others (e.g.,

depoliticization). Spurred by a fiscal crisis and supported by international financial

institutions, the Antall government was able to carry out the downsizing process. However,

successive coalition governments on both the right and left, driven largely by clientelistic

politics, impeded the depoliticization process (Agh 2001).

The Civil Service Act of May 5, 1992 created a core elite civil service, distinct from the

much larger public service, and awarded higher pay and additional privileges to the members

of this elite. The law also established the principles of political neutrality and professionalism,

identifying a limited number of positions for political appointment. For the most part,

though, Hungarian civil service policy in the 1990's largely served to retain former communist

cadres, locking in their acquired rights and benefits with only minimal regard for standards

based on merit or performance (Nunberg 2003, 76). Although the law itself was inspired by

the Weberian civil service model, no government took significant steps in implementing it.

There are several explanations for this reluctance.

The first post-transition government had no choice but to retain large numbers of former

communist bureaucrats to ensure continuity. The new regime needed a nucleus of

experienced, technically competent administrators to keep state functions running. Fearing

the complete collapse of administrative institutions, Antall retained as much of the

bureaucracy as possible (Verebelyi 1993).

The Antall government also prevented the merit clauses of the Civil Service Act from

being enforced because their implementation would have limited his government's ability to

engage in patronage. The civil service became a mix of former apparatchiks and newly

appointed political clients (Nunberg 1999, 2003). 20 In fact, Antall's strategy was to recruit

most of the first generation top officials from the lower managing ranks of the ministerial

bureaucracy, in an attempt to take advantage of existing expertise (Meyer-Sahling 2004, 90).

The reform process was also hindered by the fractionalization of MDF into separate

legislative groups. The radical factions wanted a complete break with the communist past,

advocating far-reaching personnel changes in the bureaucracy, which the government could

not undertake as it could not find the personnel with whom to replace all (or almost all) of

these civil servants. Antall died in the last year of his term, leaving in place a caretaker

government. The chances for meaningful merit reform were lost, as the Socialist government

installed after 1994 had little interest in enforcing merit clauses that might have reduced the

numbers of their supporters in the bureaucracy.

Two more major reforms took place in 1997 and 2001. Both reforms attempted to partially

depoliticize the civil service. However, neither of them restricted the avenues for governments

to intervene in personnel policy insofar as the recruitment, appointment, and transfer of civil

servants was concerned. In addition to these two reforms, in 1998 the MSzP-SzDSz

government (under Prime Minister Horn) proposed a detailed reform program to limit the
Nunberg contends that "the belief that Hungarian bureaucrats were well-qualified professionals was a
view in which many Hungarians took considerable pride, regardless of political affiliation. The justification for
keeping these cadres in place was thus tied intricately to a nationalist self-perception of professional superior-
ity" (2003, 77).

possibility of government intervention in personnel policy (Agh 1998). The program was never

passed, much less implemented.

Additionally, any measure to depoliticize the civil service conflicted with MSzP's interests.

Soon after taking office, the Horn government replaced a large number of senior officials

promoted by Antall with officials recruited from outside the bureaucracy. As the successor to

the Communist Party, MSzP was able to pool people from various backgrounds through its

wide-reaching social network. And as a result, what should have been an ambitious civil

service reform program was transformed into a "small-scale institutional adjustment of the

status quo aiming to alleviate the most pressing problems of the day" (Meyer-Sahling 2004,


When it took office in 1998, the Fidesz-FKgP-MDF coalition government led by Prime

Minister Orban had even less incentive to work with inherited government bureaucrats than

the Horn government. Many of the senior bureaucrats recruited by Horn had held senior

positions before 1989. As a result, the Orban government initiated sweeping changes in the

senior ranks of the civil service by bringing in trusted appointees from outside the public

administration. It also advocated the establishment of a senior executive service, as a separate

elite corps of top civil servants under the direct control of the Prime Minister, to enhance

policy-making capacity and to integrate government operations (Gajduschek 2007). As a

result, the Prime Minister became effectively unconstrained in the capacity to appoint senior


In conclusion, Hungary's front-runner status in adopting a civil service law was not echoed

by a successful campaign to depoliticize the civil service. While in Poland patronage politics

led to an expansion of the civil service, in Hungary the size of the civil service remained

constant. Nevertheless, Hungary experienced patronage politics, successive governments

choosing often to replace a small number of existing civil servants with new ones they could

trust. 2 1 To Hungary's advantage, the early institutionalization of the party system (with low

levels of party fragmentation and party continuity) constrained the parties' ability to engage

in patronage politics.
After the 2002 and 2006 elections, the MSzP-SzDSz coalition governments continued the cycle of replac-
ing senior civil servants. In fact, many of the new appointments were officials previously appointed by the
Horn government and removed by the Orban cabinet (Meyer-Sahling 2008).

Table 5.8. Characteristics of t h e Czech P a r t y S y s t e m .
Note: The 1990 and 1992 results are for the Czech National Council.

Party System Election Year

Characteristic 1990 1992 1996 1998 2002 2006
Fragmentation 2.26 4.80 4.15 3.70 3.66 3.09

Vote Differential 47% 20.5% 3.5% 5.5% 6% 3.5%

Volatility - 85% 37% 18% 9.5% 16.5%

5.6 T h e Czech Republic: Bipolar P a r t y System

5.6.1 E v o l u t i o n of t h e P a r t y S y s t e m

The Czech system, unlike the system in Poland yet similar to the system in Hungary,

presented voters with a manageable number of parties that engaged in predictable coalitions.

Facing a credible opposition, and hence the possibility of being voted out of office, the Czech

governments tried in earnest to limit patronage politics.

Since the mid-1990s, the Czech system has been anchored by two major parties, the

conservative Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and the Social Democratic Party (CSSD). There

are also several smaller parties, most notably the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) on the

center right, and the Communists (KSCM) on the left. Over time, the party system has

simplified, with the majority of smaller parties being eliminated. Compared to the Polish

system, the Czech party system displays stronger elements of institutionalization: stable

coalition patterns, low volatility, and low fragmentation (see Table 5.8).

Analogous to the Hungarian process of party system institutionalization, the Czech party

system quickly developed robust and stable party competition based on a clearly

distinguishable left-right, socioeconomically based issue space (Kitschelt et al. 1999b). In the

1990 elections, the anti-communist umbrella group Civic Forum (OF) won a majority of

legislative seats. As had happened before with the Solidarity in Poland, the OF splintered

once the Communist Party threat had receded. In 1991, Vaclav Klaus (the Minister of

Finance) broke away from OF, founding the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and taking much

of the OF membership with him. Together with the Civic Democratic Alliance (ODA) and

Table 5.9. N u m b e r of Governments in P o s t - C o m m u n i s t Czech Republic.
Note: The time periods correspond to parliamentary terms.

Years Number of Governments

1992-1996 1
1996-1998 2
1998-2002 1
2002-2006 3
Total 7

the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), ODS governed from 1992 to 1998.

After ODS, the most notable party to the Civic Forum was the Social Democratic Party

(CSSD), which after 1992 emerged as the fastest growing party in the Czech Republic. CSSD

defined itself as an alternative to the ODS vision of neo-liberal economic reform. The

increasingly competitive nature of the party system was evident in the narrow winning

margins in parliamentary elections. While in 1992 ODS enjoyed a 20% lead over its closest

competitor (the Left Bloc), in 1996 the lead had shrunk to just 3% (CSSD was the second

largest party in the legislature). In CSSD Czech voters had a clear and credible alternative to

the conservative government of ODS. 2 2

After the initial positive results of economic reform began to wear off, CSSD gained

steadily in strength in the parliament, enjoying more than 30% of parliamentary seats starting

with the 1996 legislature. An economic crisis, coupled with party financing scandals resulted

in the demise of the ODS-led coalition government in November 1997. After winning the

pre-term 1998 elections, CSSD formed a minority government, which ODS - now the second

largest party in parliament - officially tolerated (as shown in Table 5.9, the CSSD government

was stable, with only one premiership during 1998-2002).

Table 5.8 summarizes the characteristics of the Czech party system. Excluding the 1990

elections in which OF functioned as an umbrella party, the vote differential was 7.8%, less

than the corresponding values for both Poland (10.7%) and Hungary (13.2%). After the 1998

elections, the Czech system experienced low volatility: 14.6% compared to Hungary's 23.7%

for 1998-2006. This combination of low vote differential and low volatility reflected robust
While on the left side of the political spectrum, CSSD was not a communist successor party. In contrast,
in a majority of the post-communist democracies, the major left-of-center party tended to be a communist
successor of some sort.

competition in elections: two stable parties whose organizational strength enabled them to

survive outside of the government and to compete in elections with relative parity. By

comparison, in Poland, the vote differential was low at times, but the fragmentation of power

among coalition members and the high volatility led to an underinstitutionalized party

system. In terms of fragmentation, the Czech system's 3.09 effective parties puts it in line

with Western European party systems (Linz and Stepan 1996, 277).

The Czech governing coalitions were more stable than the corresponding Polish ones. The

governing formulas in Czech politics were relatively familiar, and consisted of the Christian

Democrats entering into governing coalitions with either the Social Democrats (during

2002-2006) or the Civic Democratic Party (1996-1998, and 2006-present). The Communist

Party (KSCM), while a member of every democratic legislature, has always been excluded

from the governing coalitions.

With fewer turnovers of the government, there were fewer opportunities for administrative

reshuffling, and the Czech administration experienced considerable autonomy from patronage

politics. This does not mean that patronage politics was completely absent, but the frequency

of accountability violations among political institutions remained low and their scope

relatively small. Furthermore, violations prompted investigations and the requisite sanctions

(Krause-Deegan 2006). These findings confirm my expectations: the timing of party- and

state-building created incentives for party patronage, but the presence of a credible opposition

and predictable governing coalitions constrained those inclinations.

5.6.2 Civil Service Reform

Although the Czech Civil Service Act was adopted in 2002, it was put in force only in 2004.

Efforts to draft such a law began with the founding of the Czech Republic as an independent

state in January 1993 (Vidlakova 2000). The first Klaus government, formed after the 1992

parliamentary elections, promised to quickly adopt an act on the legal status of civil servants.

The draft was prepared by the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs in June 1993, and was

approved by the government in August 1993. 23 As was the case in Hungary and Poland, the
Labor ministries are not a frequent choice for coordinating civil service reform, but both the Czech Re-
public and Slovakia chose this route. Beblavy argues that both ministries placed an almost exclusive emphasis
on the labor and social aspects of civil service reform, particularly on employee protections, at the expense of
the rest of the civil service reform (2005, 61).

main focus of this act was the transformation of the existing structure, inherited from the

communist period, into an efficient, well-qualified organization. Nevertheless, the law was

subjected to new scrutiny by the coalition members. By July 1994 it became obvious that the

legislature would not even get to vote on it. The most contentious provisions were the

establishment of a permanent civil service (with guaranteed tenure) and the adoption of a

closed career system (Vidlakova 2000).

In spite of this failure, the attempts to prepare the draft indicate that in the Czech

Republic "administrative reform had been put firmly on the political agenda, and that its

significance for democratic government and successful economic transition was acknowledged"

(Suleiman 2003, 299). 24

The importance of a stable civil service was articulated several times by President Vaclav

Havel. In his address to the Chamber of Deputies in March 1995 he emphasized that the

backbone of every well functioning state is an efficient state administration (Vidlakova 2000).

In response, the second Klaus coalition government committed once again to adopting a civil

service law. An external working group established within the Ministry of Labor and Social

Affairs undertook this challenge. The basic principles of this draft were different from the

previous project, as the working group abandoned some of the elements of a career system, as

well as the principle of a permanent civil service (Suleiman 2003). However, opposition to the

law and the budgetary strains of 1997 suspended work on the legislative draft. Once again,

civil service reform was postponed. 25

The Social Democratic government headed by Zeman committed itself, in the summer of

1998, to depoliticizing the state administration, in order "to stabilize the state apparatus,

improve its efficiency and eliminate its dependence on short-term political pressure" by

adopting a civil service law (Vidlakova 2000). A legislative draft that imposed high

requirements for professional civil servants and established protections from external pressure

was submitted to the CSSD minority government at the end of 1999. 26 The Civil Service Act
It should also be noted that as much as 90% of the normative acts adopted between 1990 and 1992 fo-
cused on the public administration, its rights, duties, and organizational structure (Suleiman 2003, 299), which
is understandable in a country that had just broken away from a federal state.
After the Klaus government collapsed amid allegations of corruption, the caretaker government led by
Tosovsky adopted a resolution on public administration reform, which also included a draft of the civil service
act. The government served only for seven months, insufficient time for the law to be adopted.
CSSD and ODS signed a power sharing agreement in 1998 (the so-called Opposition Agreement) which
granted ODS a number of parliamentary positions (but no ministerial portfolios) and the right to be consulted
on major political decisions, in exchange for not initiating no-confidence votes.

was adopted on June 14, 2002 and came into effect in January 2004, only months before the

Czech Republic became a member of the European Union. The accession talks undoubtedly

sped up the legislative process. While the EU benchmarks do not contain explicit provisions

regarding the public administration, the European Commission has made it clear that

acceding countries would need to increase their administrative capacity to successfully apply

the European body of law (acquis communitaire). In fact, in countries where sufficient civil

service legislation had not been passed prior to relevant accession negotiations (the Czech

Republic, Slovakia, and Slovenia), the passage of such an act usually became a focal point of

the negotiations (Beblavy 2005, 64).

We can argue that the bipolar Czech system created a domestic political deadlock over

reform (within the government or between the government and key stakeholders). The EU

negotiations helped to overcome this stalemate, creating credible exogenous pressure on the

parties involved in the reform process. 27 Nevertheless, as argued by many authors, even in

countries where EU pressure and assistance has been pivotal in the overall reform, the EU's

role in the implementation phase is much weaker and less focused (Beblavy 2005, Verheijen

2002). Moreover, the bipolar system also prevented parties from engaging in patronage


5.7 Slovakia: Dominant-Party System

5.7.1 Evolution of the Party System

Nationalism was the main factor in Slovak politics in the early 1990s. During the early

post-transition years, Slovak politicians focused on national identity issues and demands of

autonomy to a much greater extent than other politicians in the region. 28 This position was

justified by the belief that despite the communist regime's post-1968 efforts to promote the

"equalization" of Czechs and Slovaks, it was not until after 1989 that Slovakia achieved real

autonomy within the federation in all areas except defense, foreign relations, and national

economic policy (Seleny 2007).

The 1990s were dominated by one party, Vladimiir Meciar's Movement for a Democratic
Similarly, in Slovakia the civil service law was adopted only under pressure from the European Commis-
Almost every country had a nationalist party, but only in Slovakia did it play such a crucial role in gov-

Table 5.10. Characteristics of t h e Slovak P a r t y S y s t e m .
Note: The 1990 and 1992 results are for the Slovak National Council.

Party System Election Year

Characteristic 1990 1992^ 1994 1998 2002 2006

Fragmentation 4.98 3.19 4.44 4.75 6.12 2.33

Vote Differential 10.14% 22.56% 24.55% 0.67% 4.41% 10.79%

Volatility - 51.9% 37.3% 55.1% 42.91% 30.59%

Slovakia (HZDS). While in power, between 1992 and 1998 (with a small break from March to

October 1994), HZDS enjoyed overwhelming organizational and institutional advantages over

a fragmented opposition (Fish 1999). In 1998, when the opposition finally won the right to

govern, the governing coalition was comprised of eight parties, united primarily by their

opposition to HZDS.

Being the biggest winner of the 1992 elections (for the Slovak National Council, while

Slovakia was still part of Czechoslovakia), HZDS faced a weak and internally divided

opposition. As shown in Table 5.10, HZDS maintained a 20-plus percentage point advantage

on its closest rival in parliamentary elections (after 1998 when HZDS became an opposition

party, the difference between the first two parties in terms of percentage of votes was much

smaller). Worse still, the opposition parties displayed an inconsistent behavior, often

cooperating with Meciar's party in exchange for short-term gains (O'Dwyer 2006). Facing no

credible opposition, HZDS had little incentive to restrain its use of patronage. As shown in

Figure 5.4, most of the civil service expansion occurred during HZDS's tenure in government


The Slovak party system failed to generate accountability because it did not offer voters

meaningful choices at election time. There were too many parties in the opposition, which

deprived voters of a meaningful weapon to punish the governing HZDS. Additionally, the high

turnover rates (reflected in the high volatility in Table 5.10) meant that there was little

information from which to predict these parties' future behavior.

The first party to invoke the nationalist theme was the Slovak National Party (SNS),

which called for Slovak autonomy during the 1990 elections. SNS was deemed too extremist,

Table 5.11. N u m b e r of Governments in P o s t - C o m m u n i s t Slovakia.
Note: The time periods correspond to parliamentary terms.

Years Number of Governments

1992-1994 2
1994-1998 1
1998-2006 1
Total 4

and ironically, Vladimifr Meciar - who became Prime Minister of the Slovak Federal Republic

as a member of Public Against Violence (VPN) - denounced SNS's policies of separatism

(O'Dwyer 2006). In 1991, Meciar's rhetoric changed abruptly, with his calling for the

liberation of Slovakia from Czech domination. This shift precipitated a leadership struggle

within VPN, the fall of the Meciar government, and the disintegration of VPN.

The 1992 elections exposed a deeply polarized political scene, clearly dominated by the

nationalist HZDS. HZDS won almost half of the parliamentary seats, forming a government

with the markedly more nationalist SNS. Losing its parliamentary majority temporarily in

1994, Meciar's HZDS returned to power in the 1994 elections, when another nationalist,

post-communist party, the Slovak Workers' Party (ZRS) was added to the coalition. The

opposition consisted of a heterogeneous mix of parties: Christian Democrats, neo-liberals,

post-communists, and ethnic Hungarians, among others.

While in power, HZDS maintained a political advantage over opposition parties by

engaging in political patronage (Krause-Deegan 2006). As HZDS consolidated, the opposition

weakened continuously. For example, while the opposition managed to bring down the Meciar

government with a no confidence vote in March 1994, HZDS returned to government in

October, after clearly winning the elections. Together with SNS and the now-defunct ZRS,

HZDS and Meciar governed undisturbed until 1998 (see Table 5.11).

The Slovak opposition finally coalesced and defeated HZDS in 1998. Ironically, the

opposition's unification was caused by a HZDS decision. Just before the 1998 elections, in an

effort to prevent several opposition parties from gaining representation, HZDS changed the

electoral law, establishing a five percent electoral threshold, even for parties that were in

electoral alliances. This had the unintended effect of forcing the opposition parties to form a

large umbrella party, the Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK). Although HZDS won the most

votes in the 1998 elections, it was unable to form a government because it had eliminated its

potential coalition partners by enforcing the new threshold requirement and forcing the

opposition to unite.

But SDK was not a coherent, internally unified party. It consisted of five distinct parties:

the Democratic Union (DU), the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), the Democratic

Party (DS), the Social Democratic Party of Slovakia (SDSS), and the Green Party (SZ). With

only 28% of the legislative seats, SDK was forced to enter into a governing coalition with

three other ideologically diverse parties: Party of the Democratic Left (SDL'), Party of the

Hungarian Coalition (SMK), and Party of Civic Understanding (SOP). The SDK-led

government of Mikulas Dzurinda is credited with bringing Slovakia into the European Union.

However, tensions within SDK led to its disintegration, so that in 2002 there were eighteen

political parties in the parliament, whereas in 1998 there were only six (Malikova 2002).

SDK's largest successor party was the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKU),

headed by Dzurinda. SDKU won the 2002 elections and Dzurinda continued as Prime

Minister. During this period, HZDS was a strong opposition party, using votes of

no-confidence to destabilize the government. However, HZDS's power faded in 2006, when it

won only 8% of the votes.

5.7.2 Civil Service Reform

Very soon after 1989, it became quite clear that the two federal republics - Czech and Slovak

- would part ways. As a newly independent state, Slovakia adopted a series of governmental

resolutions with the goal of creating real self-governing institutions (Nemec 2002). While civil

service reform figured highly on the government's priority list, the process was postponed

repeatedly between 1990 and 1994, because of political instability. 29

After HZDS consolidated its position in parliament in the 1994 elections, civil service

reform was reduced to a series of government statements given in January 1995. These

statements expressed the government's intention to establish "an administration system that

[would] better address the needs of the citizens, and [would] be simpler and financially less

demanding" (Nemec 2002, 141). Ironically, between 1994 and 1998, the Slovak civil service
Twice Meciar, first as Prime Minister of the Slovak Federal Republic, and then as Prime Minister of Slo-
vakia, was deposed by the parliament.

doubled in size.

HZDS began its 1994-1998 term with the "night of the long knives" (Grzymala-Busse

2003, 1143) on November 3 r d , when the Meciar government eliminated all non-HZDS

supporters from the state administration. They were replaced with HZDS party activists and

cronies, leading to a doubling of the state administration in a four-year period. Fragmented

and weak, the opposition could not stop these purges.

The Meciar government presented a draft for the civil service law in 1994, which was

rejected by the parliament. A new civil service act was presented for parliamentary approval

on July 15, 1997 and was approved in the first and second readings. This law was highly

criticized by the trade unions for offering few social benefits, but was deemed acceptable for

establishing civil servants' independence from politics - which would have benefited HZDS, as

it had already filled the administration with party members (SIGMA 2003b). However, with

the parliamentary elections approaching, the law was not submitted for final approval. The

bill was reintroduced in parliament in March 2001, when discussions stagnated because of a

conflict among coalition partners over a different issue, namely the number of regional

self-governing units into which the country would be divided (East European Constitutional

Review, Country Reports, 2001, 2/3). The law was finally adopted by the parliament in July

2001, just two months before the parliamentary elections.

With the arrival of the SDK-led government in 1998, the distribution of posts continued.

SDK first replaced all 79 local (okresni) leaders and all eight regional (krajske) leaders loyal

to the outgoing government (Malikova 2002). These positions, as well as others in state

enterprises, banks, the oil sector, etc., were distributed among the coalition members. The

difference was that the dispersion of power led to a diffusion of appointments: no longer did

one party control all civil servants.

The law has been highly criticized by trade unions for failing to guarantee the political

independence of civil servants. Civil servants can be easily dismissed through institutional

restructuring, and managers have discretionary powers in the allocation of "personal bonuses"

(SIGMA 2003b). Like the Czech case, the "law was designed to satisfy the EU" (SIGMA

2003b, 2-3), and did not signal the political parties' commitment to the creation of a

professional and independent civil service.

5.8 Conclusions

The post-communist experience in CEE validates Shefter's thesis about the sequence of

state-building and party-building. As party-building preceded the consolidation of state

bureaucracies, party-builders used patronage politics as a means to strengthen their support.

However, the extent of patronage politics varied across cases: it was lower in countries with

party systems that institutionalized in a short period of time (Hungary and the Czech

Republic), and higher in countries where party system institutionalization was a prolonged

process (Poland and Slovakia).

I am not arguing that patronage politics was absent in Hungary and the Czech Republic.

As the detailed discussion of these cases revealed, they were by no means immune to such

practices. For example, in Hungary, both anecdotal evidence and the turnover rate observed

in 2001 indicate that political factors often interfered with administrative independence.

However, this chapter showed that under certain institutional arrangements (which result in

stable parties that build their constituencies on ideological bases), patronage politics can be


The adoption of legislation regulating the civil service does not, in and of itself, constrain

patronage politics, nor does it signal the commitment of various parties to reform the public

administration along Weberian lines. Just as a civil service law can serve to depoliticize and

increase the level of professionalism in the civil service (Hungary, to a certain extent), it can

also serve to protect political appointees and secure their positions (the case of Poland), or to

fulfill some exogenously imposed benchmark (the Czech and Slovak Republics). The analysis

in this chapter showed that the nature of party competition is a better predictor for the

extent of political patronage than the mere adoption of a civil service law.


This study has important policy implications: it shows that the adoption of a civil service act,

per se, does not inevitably lead to an improvement in institutional quality. Additionally, my

findings indicate that legislative efforts undertaken to purportedly achieve institutional reform

do not necessarily signal a commitment to institutional progress. Political parties, while in

power, often engage in pseudo-reform - a perfunctory action meant to placate domestic or

international actors. In other instances, governments use the veil of reform to create more

opportunities for exploiting state resources.

The systematic analysis of the civil service systems created in CEE - the basis of this

study - represents an important contribution to the literature on democratic consolidation.

For transitioning democracies to evolve into consolidated regimes, it is important to know

how to design better functioning institutions. Otherwise, the same institutions that are

designed to foster governance can undermine the regime itself, by eroding its legitimacy. In

the case of the civil service, I argue, a well functioning system is one that is highly

professional and depoliticized; and can effectively implement policies in a non-arbitrary

manner. An institution with such features fosters the rule of law and good governance.

By using original data, this study found that the civil service systems, designed by relevant

legislation, primarily display elements of professionalism. However, beyond the merit fagade,

civil service laws also provide the means through which direct political influence over the civil

service is realized. These circumstances can explain why, overall, the process of retooling and

redeploying the state administration (i.e., civil service reform) inherited from the former

regime in post-communist CEE has produced mixed results, even among the relatively

successful transition countries, such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.

Moreover, while the idiosyncrasies of democratic transition (e.g., simultaneous political

and economic transformation, initial economic decline, lack of civil society, etc.) have

undoubtedly set back the modernization of the civil service, I argue that politics and

politicians are a major reason why elements of the spoils system appear in civil service laws.

The interference of political actors is apparent in the way civil service acts are applied: with

delays and, often, not to completion. Moreover, the nature of party competition can explain

the success (or failure) of the process of bureaucratic rationalization. In countries with

underdeveloped party systems, parties engage in political patronage, co-opting people into

state institutions as a means of gaining their allegiance.

What are some characteristics of the CEE civil service systems? In terms of institutional

design, these systems display many similarities. A majority of CEE countries have adopted

structures that are closer to the career-based model. Characterized by hierarchies and long

tenures, such systems are designed to prevent patronage (at least in high level positions) and,

over time, should lead to the creation of a knowledgeable and dependable labor force.

However, in practice - as the discussion on the political appointees in Hungary and Lithuania,

covered in subsection 3.2.2, has shown - politicians find ways to circumvent the tenure

requirement for occupying high level positions by creating special categories of civil servants

that do not need to meet the tenure requirement.

As a means of increasing accountability in the system, the laws should contain

incompatibility and conflict of interest provisions, as well as obligations to disclose assets.

However, as this study has shown, only one third of the laws have such provisions designed to

insulate institutions from those activities of the employees that may undermine the goals of

the civil service. Moreover, the analysis revealed that, by law, civil servants are not insulated

from external pressures (political or of any other nature). While a majority of the acts

stipulate unlimited tenure, they do not offer enough guarantees to protect civil servants from

being arbitrarily dismissed as a result of restructuring and downsizing.

Civil service laws are also silent with respect to the means of ensuring transparency in the

system. This scarcity of information is understandable considering the general character of

the law. However, transparency enhancing actions are all the more important in bureaucratic

systems that have a history of corruption, such as the CEE systems.

Beyond the legislative effort, the professionalization of the civil service presupposes that

the system must be able to attract the best professionals by offering salaries that are

competitive with the ones found in the private sector. To achieve this goal, civil service acts

set guaranteed salary minimums. However, secondary data show that, in some cases, public

sector salaries represent 30% to 80% of the salaries paid in the private sector for similar

positions. Consequently, pay policies actually undermine the professionalization of the system.

Moreover, bonuses and supplements represent a high percentage of the final salary, which

means that the awarding authority (usually the civil servant's direct superior) has a high

degree of discretionary power.

The arbitrary and/or perfunctory application of legal provisions is another feature of the

CEE civil service systems. For example, while the laws mandate annual training programs

organized by the central government, in practice, because of the lack of funds, training courses

are mostly ad hoc and episodic, and occur at the local level with the help of external donor

financing. As for perfunctorily applied provisions, periodic appraisals of a civil servant's

performance are either not carried out in all institutions, or, if administered at all, result in

every employee being rated as "satisfactory," so that the department's prestige does not suffer.

The case of Romania demonstrates the rift between the institutional environment, created

through legislation, and the actual institutional performance, manifested as a lack of progress

in reform. This rift reinforces the idea that institutional reform cannot be reduced to a series

of legislative acts, yet presupposes a concerted effort to ensure the enforcement of the law and

respect for the law by all actors involved in the process. The civil servants' survey analyzed in

Chapter 4 also shows that the institutional environment greatly influences performance and

that public officials are not inherently rapacious rent-seekers. Instead, civil servants respond

to the incentive structures they face. The incentive system, as well as the institutional

environment, may differ from country to country. In this case, Romanian civil servants

respond best to increases in salaries, but other civil servants may see different factors as

having a positive effect on their performance and integrity. It is encouraging to find that,

given an institutional design that promotes professionalism and an adequate monetary

incentive, civil servants can be insulated from political interference.

Another significant finding from this study is that, despite the v, idely-held belief among

the public and in the literature, CEE civil services are lean compared to those of developed

democracies. Cross-national longitudinal data show that countries have experienced very

different employment patterns since 1990, and that a change in the number of employees did

not translate into a better or worse quality of bureaucracy. While the changes in the size of

the civil service in CEE did not translate into a better quality bureaucracy, in a

cross-sectional analysis, I found a positive relationship between higher numbers of civil

servants per capita and quality of bureaucracy. Moreover, a larger number of civil servants are

positively associated with higher government effectiveness. What this means is that there is

nothing inherently bad about a large civil service.

However, when an increase in the size of the civil service is not associated with an increase

in institutional quality, the expansion of the bureaucracy may be a sign of patronage politics -

when governments make politically motivated appointments designed to give them an

advantage over their adversaries. The study in Chapter 5 validates Shefter's thesis about the

sequence of state-building and party-building. As party-building preceded the consolidation of

state bureaucracies, party-builders used patronage politics as a means to strengthen their

support. However, the extent of patronage politics varied across cases: it was lower in

countries with party systems that became institutionalized in a short period of time (Hungary

and the Czech Republic), and higher in countries where party system institutionalization was

a prolonged process (Poland and Slovakia). These findings are relevant for policy-makers

because they show how patronage politics can be constrained under institutional

arrangements, which result in stable parties that build their constituencies on ideological


Surprisingly, this element of post-communist politics - the restructuring of the state

administration inherited from a former regime - remains relatively understudied when

compared to other areas of democratization, such as constitutional design and economic

liberalization. As we have learned from the experiences in CEE, but also more recently in Iraq

and Afghanistan, the success of electoral institutions depends to a great extent on the

development of the state. And this study has sought to reemphasize the role of the state in

establishing a democracy. For countries that are transitioning to democracy, the lesson is that

the adoption of a civil service system that promotes professionalism does not necessarily

translate into a professional civil service. Other factors, such as the nature of the party

system, must be taken into account.

From these various findings, we can expect civil service reform to have very different

degrees of success, according to the particular party system competition in place in any

particular state. Consequently, the impact of the party system transcends such short-term

phenomena as governmental stability. Indeed, understanding the nature of party competition

tells us much about the quality of other institutions (e.g., civil service), and indirectly informs

us about the quality of democracy. With democracy's seeming universalism, alas with varying

degrees of success, such knowledge becomes increasingly consequential.

Appendix A

Table A . l . Civil Service Laws in Central and Eastern E u r o p e and t h e Central

Asian Republics
Notes: The laws and amendments are from the International Labor Organization NATLEX archive and
from national governments websites. The list is, unfortunately, incomplete.

Country Law N a m e Number Adoption Date

Act For Civil Service 8095/1996 March 21, 1996
Status of Civil Servant 8549/1999 November 11, 1999
Act on Civil Service December 4, 2001
Armenia Amending Law 691 July 3, 2002
Amending Law May 2, 2006
Azerbaijan Law on Civil Service 926-1 July 21, 2000
Belarus Public Service Act 204-Z June 14, 2003
Bosnia and Law on Civil Service 02-663 May 31, 1994
Herzegovina Civil Service Act June 26, 2003
Act on Public Servants 67 June 16, 1999
Amending Law October 15, 2003
Act on Civil Servants and October 12, 1994
Government Employees
Croatia Act on Civil Servants 471 March 14, 2001
Act on Civil Servants 1831 July 15, 2005
Amending Law 2418 July 19, 2007
Act on the Service of 218 May 27, 2002
Czech Civil Servants
Republic Amending Law 436 2004
Amending Law 264 April 21, 2006
Public Service Act 486 January 25, 1995
25 Amending Laws 1999-2005
Georgia State Civil Service Law - June 30, 1995
Legal Status of 33 May 6, 1992
Hungary Public Officials
10 Amending Laws 1992-2006
Kazakhstan Decree on Public Service - December 26, 1995
Act on Public Service 132 November 30, 1999
Kyrgyzstan Amending Law 190 August 5, 2003
Act on Public Service 114 August 11, 2004
Continued on the next page . . .

Table A . l . Continued from the previous page ...
Country Law N a m e Number Adoption Date
Law on Public Service 52 April 21, 1994
Latvia State Civil Service Law September 7, 2000
Amending Law September 14, 2006
Act on Public Servants 1-836 April 4, 1995
Lithuania Act on Public Service VIII-131 July 8, 1999
Amending Law IX-855 April 23, 2002
Act on Civil Servants 2477 July 20, 2000
8 Amending Laws 2001-2007
Law on Civil Service 443-XIII May 4, 1995
19 Amending Laws 1996-2002
Act on Public Servants April 26, 2004
and Public Employees
Civil Service Act July 5, 1996
Poland Law on Civil Service 49 December 18, 1998
Amending Law December 23, 1999
Civil Service Law 188 December 8, 1999
13 Amending Laws 2000-2006
Act on Public Service 119-FZ July 31, 1995
Amending Law 35-FZ February 18, 1999
Act on Public Servants September 16, 2005
Amending Law July 13, 2007
Act on Civil Service 312 July 3, 2001
Amending Law 143 March 15, 2002
Amending Law 185 June 25, 2002
Amending Law 411 July 3, 2002
Act on Civil Servants 2759 June 11, 2002
Amending Law 5004 November 30, 2005
Act on State Service 233 March 5, 2007
Amending Law 429 June 8, 2007
Act on Service in June 12, 1997
State Bodies
Act on Public Service 3723 December 16, 1993
Ukraine Amending Law 97 January 16, 2003
Amending Law 432 December 12, 2006
Uzbekistan - - -
Act on Federal 577 September 27, 1996
Serbia and
Public Institutions
Amending Law 650 December 4, 1998

Figure A . l . Civil Service Employment and Government Effectiveness (by Region)
Source: World Bank
Note: Civil service employment data is the early 1990's. 'Government effectiveness' runs from -2.5 to 2.5, with 2.5 indicating a very effective
government. I used the 1996 score, the first score in the series.

Africa Asia
(N = 32) (N = 17)

Civil Service as % of Population Civil Service as % of Population

Eastern Europe Former USSR

(N = 10) (N = 15)

I '5

Civil Service as % of Population Civil Service as % of Population

Government Effectiveness
2 Si
2 =
n >
S3 c
o' l-t
Government Effectiveness
I 0)
W- a
' -l '

i .
<D .11i . *

*.- . 5
1' II n?
^ \ ... o
9. ff)' \
"0 \
O Government Effectiveness tr
\ CD
c 1
. o

ZJ 1
!\ CD
z <

o o'
.l 3- CO

.1 > d
o' cm
II 3
Figure A.2. Civil Service Employment and Quality of Bureaucracy (by Region)
Source: World Bank and ICRG
Note: Civil service employment data is the early 1990's. 'Quality of bureaucracy' runs from 0 to 4, with 4 indicating a high quality bureaucracy. I
used the data from 1993 with the exception of Belarus, Ukraine, and Croatia for which the closest available data was from 1998. For the same reason,
I used the 1999 score for Azerbaijan, Armenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Kazakhstan, and Slovenia

Africa Asia
(N = 17) (N = 10)

Z 3 4 5 6 7 B 9 10

Civil Service as % of Population Civil Service as % of Population

Eastern Europe Former USSR

(N=8) (N = 10)

Civil Service as % of Population Civil Service as % of Population

Figure A. 2. Continued from the previous page ...

Latin America North Africa and Middle East

(N = 8)

05 Civil Service as % of Population Civil Service as % of Population


(N = 21)

Civil Service as % of Population

Appendix B

Additional C E E Civil Service

Systems Characteristics

Technical Characteristics

The structure of the CEE civil service laws varies a great deal. In some cases, such as the

2005 Croat Act, the table of contents offers a valuable insight into the provisions of the law.

In other cases, such as the 2001 Slovak and the 2002 Slovene laws, the chapter headings do

not convey the same amount of information and we need to look in depth at specific articles

to identify relevant provisions.

Table B . l . Structure of C E E Civil Service Laws According t o t h e First Level

Notes: The year next to the country name is the year of the civil service law I have analyzed.

Country First Level Heading

Albania 1999 1. General Provisions
2. Administration of the Civil Service
3. Classification of Civil Servants and Hiring in the Civil Service
4. Promotion, Lateral Transfer, Appraisal, and Transfer
5. Structure of Salary and Compensation
6. Duties and Rights of the Civil Servant
7. Dismissal and Suspension from the Civil Service
8. Disciplinary Measures
9. Personnel Registry
10. Transitory Provisions
11. Final Provisions
Bosnia and 1. General Provisions
Herzegovina 2003 2. Civil Service Positions
3. Duties and Rights of Civil Servants
4. Vacancy, Transfer, Recruitment, Performance Management,
5. Remuneration and Allowances
6. Working Conditions
7. Termination of Service
8. Disciplinary Responsibilities
9. Management of the Civil Service
10. Transitional Provisions
11. Final Provisions
Continued on the next page ...

Table B.l. Continued from the previous page . . .
Country First Level Heading
Bulgaria 1999 1. General Provisions
2. Establishing the Service Legal Relationship
3. Civil Servant's Status
4. Amendment to the Service Legal Relationship
5. Insignia of Honor and Prizes. Service Liability
6. Termination of the Service Legal Relationship
7. Service Book and Length of Service
8. Protection Against Illegal Termination of the Service Legal
9. Disputes
10. Control on Observing the Civil Servant's Status
Croatia 2005 1. Introductory Provisions
2. Rights and Obligations of Civil Servants
3. Management in the Civil Service
4. Adminission in the Civil Service and Job Assignment
5. Classification of Posts in the Civil Service
6. Transfers
7. Assessments of Performance and Efficiency of Civil Servants
8. Advanacement in the Civil Service
9. Training of Civil Servants
10. Accountability for Breaches of Official Duty
11. Liability for Damage
12. Placing at Government Disposal
13. Termination of the Civil Service
14. Governmental Employees
15. Personal Files and the Central Register of Civil Servants and
Governmental Employees
16. Oversight
17. Transitional and Final Provisions
Czech Republic 1. General Provisions
2002 2. Preparation for Service
3. Service Relationship
4. Obligations and Basic Rights of Public Servants, Limitation
of Certain Rights of Public Servants, Orders for Performance of
Service and Rewards for Exemplary Service
5. Disciplinary Liability
6. Conditions for Performance of Service
7. Compensation for Damage
8. Social Security of Public Servants
9. Provision of Information to Public Servants and Consultations
with Public Servants in Matters of Performance of Service and
Conditions of Performance Thereof, Rights of Trade-Union Bodies
the Council of Public Servants, Representatives of Public Servants
for Safety and Protection of Health in Performance and the Rights
10. Remuneration of Public Servants, Candidates, Other
Employees in Administrative Authorities and Organizational
Aspects Relating to Employment of Such Bodies
11. Joint Provisions
12. Transitory and Concluding Provisions
Continued on the next page ...

Table B . l . Continued from the previous page ...
Country First Level Heading
Estonia 1999 1. General Provisions
2. Employment in Service
3. Rights of Public Servant
4. Duties of Service
5. Internal Procedure Rules of Administrative Agency
6. Incentives, Promotion of Officials and Disciplinary Action
7. Evaluation of Officials
8. Suspension of Service Relationship of Officials
9. Release of Officials from Service
10. Reserve of Officials
11. Length of Service
12. Service Record and Employment Record Book
13. Settlement of Disputes
14. Implementing Provisions
Hungary 1997 1. Introductory Provisions
2. Commencement and Termination of Public Service Legal
3. Scope of the Public Service Legal Relationship
4. Disciplinary Liability and Liability for Damages
5. Public Service Legal Disputes
6. Public Service Register
7. Conciliation of interests of Public Officials
8. Regulation on the Public Service Legal Relationship of
Administrators and Blue-Collar Workers
9. Miscellaneous Provisions
Latvia 2000 1. General Provisions
2. General Management of the State Civil Service
3. Appointment to the Civil Service Position
4. General Duties of the Civil Servant
5. Official Duties of the Civil Servant
6. Rights of the Civil Servant
7. Career in the State Civil Service
8. Transitional Provisions
Lithuania 2002 1. General Provisions
2. Positions of Public Servants
3. Recruitment to Positions of Public Servants
4. Duties and Rights of Public Servants
5. Career Development of Public Servants
6. Remuneration
7. Incentives and Remuneration of Public Servants
8. Social and Other Guarantees for Public Servants
9. Dismissal of Public Servants from Office
10. Training of Public Servants
11. Management of the Public Service
Macedonia 2000 1. General Provisions
2. Employment of Civil Servants
3. Rights and Duties of Civil Servants
4. System of Salaries and Allowances for Civil Servants
5. Liability of Civil Servants
6. Assessment of Civil Servants
7. Termination of Employment
8. Transitionaland Final Provisions
Continued on the next page ...

Table B . l . Continued from the previous page ...
Country First Level Heading
Moldova 2002 1. General Provisions
2. Legal Status of a Civil Service Employee
3. Admittance to Civil Service. Rendering Civil Service
4. Remuneration and Social Guarantees to Civil Servants
5. Cessation of Civil Service
6. Final and Interim Provisions
Montenegro 2004 1. Basic Provisions
2. Employment
3. Posts of Civil Servants and State Employees
4. Rights and Obligations
5. Liability of Civil Servants and State Employees
6. Transfer of Civil Servants and State Employees
7. Appraisal, Promotion and Establishment of Capability
8. Expert Training of Civil Servants and State Employees
9. Termination of Employment
10. Abolitions of an Authority, i.e., Tasks and Reorganization
11. Protection of Rights of Civil Servants and State Employees
12. Supervisions over the Enforcement of the Law
13. Punitive Measures
14. Transitory and Final Provisions
Poland 1998 1. General Provisions
2. Organisation of the Civil Service
3. Establishing Employment Relationship in the Civil Service
4. Staffing Senior Positions in the Civil Service
5. Alterations and Termination of Employment Contract within
the Civil Service
6. Duties of Civil Service Corps Members
7. Rights of Civil Service Corps Members
8. Training and Development in Civil Service
9. The Disciplinary Liability of Civil Service Corps Members
10. Amendments to Binding Regulations
11. Interim and Final Provisions
12. Final Provisions
Romania 1999 1. General Stipulations
2. Stipulated Categories of Civil Servants and Classification of
Civil Servants
3. Paritary Committees
4. The Management of Civil Services and of Civil Servants
5. Rights and Obligations
6. Selection and Appointment of Civil Servants
7. Evaluation Activity and Civil Servant's Career
8. Disciplinary Penalties and Responsibility of Civil Servants
9. Modification and Ceasing of Work Relations
10. Permanent and Transitory Dispositions
Slovakia 2001 1. Fundamental Provisions
2. Civil Service Employment Relationship
3. Collective Bargaining in the Civil Service
4. Common, Interim, and Final Provisions
Slovenia 2002 1. Part One
2. Special Provisions Relating to Civil Servants in State Bodies
and Local Community Administrations

Figure B . l . Distribution of C E E Laws According t o L e n g t h in Words

S 4 - - - - '
2 :
1 - - -
: :
5-10 10-15 15-20 20-25 25-30 30-35 35-40 40-45 45-50 50-55

Number of words (in thousands)

In terms of length, most laws are under 10,000 words. The Czech law is the obvious outlier

with over 50,000 words (see Figure B.l). Are longer laws "better" than shorter ones? Yes and

no. On the one hand, as expected, longer laws are more detailed. However, they can also be

harder to comprehend. And brevity is not necessarily an impediment to thoroughness: for

example, the 2000 Latvian act, at just under 6,500 words, contains just as much essential

information as the Czech law, which is almost nine times its length. In conclusion, size is not

a good indicator of content quality.

Principles Governing t h e Civil Service

The principles of the civil service act as a foundation for the entire system created by the law.

Principles such as professionalism and political neutrality, career continuity and legality are

paramount to a modern bureaucracy. However, for these principles to be meaningful, they

must be paired with kindred recruitment, promotion, guarantees, etc. clauses. Their value is

only that of a declaration of intention.

The fact that "political neutrality" and "legality" are the two most common principles

speaks to these countries' commitment to a modern civil service system. In sharp contrast to

communist systems, the emphasis is on independence from political interference, rule of law,

accountability, professionalism, and trasparency. These are all Weberian principles of a

modern bureaucracy ("hierarchical subordination" makes it look as if policy drafters have

actually studied Weber).

Some of the provisions listed as principles are interesting because of their uniqueness (such

as Moldova's "democracy"), while other do not qualify as principles at all, though they are

listed as such (such as Hungary's "Public Officials' Interest-Conciliation Forum shall

participate in the development of the ethical norms" ) . - '

Table B . 2 . Principles Governing t h e Civil Service

Notes: These are the most common principles found in the laws.1

Principle Countries
Political neutrality Albania 1999
Bulgaria 1999
Latvia 2000
Lithuania 2002
Montenegro 2005
Poland 1998
Romania 1999
Slovakia 2001
Slovenia 2002
Legality/Law/ Albania 1999
Rule of law Bosnia-Herzegovina 2002
Bulgaria 1999
Croatia 2005
Lithuania 2002
Macedonia 2000
Moldova 2002
Montenegro 2005
Slovenia 2002
Accountability/ Albania 1999
Responsibility Bosnia-Herzegovina 2002
Bulgaria 1999
Croatia 2005
Lithuania 2002
Moldova 2002
Montenegro 2005
Slovenia 2002
Professionalism Albania 1999
Latvia 2000
Moldova 2002
Poland 1998
Slovakia 2001
Slovenia 2002
Transparency Albania 1999
Bosnia-Herzegovina 2002
Latvia 2000
Lithuania 2002
Macedonia 2000
Moldova 2002
Continued on the next page ...

Table B . 2 . Continued from the previous page . . .
Principle Countries
Career continuity/ Albania 1999
stability Bulgaria 1999
Latvia 2000
Romania 1999
Slovenia 2002
Equality/ Bosnia-Herzegovina 2002
Non-discrimination Lithuania 2002
Macedonia 2000
Romania 1999
Slovenia 2002
Effectiveness Bosnia-Herzegovina 2002
Latvia 2000
Romania 1999
Slovakia 2001
Professional Bosnia-Herzegovina 2002
impartiality Croatia 2005
Poland 1998
Slovakia 2001
Loyalty Bulgaria 1999
Latvia 2000
Moldova 2002
Hierarchical Bulgaria 1999
subordination Croatia 2005
Moldova 2002
Respect Montenegro 2005
Code of Ethics Slovakia 2001
Slovenia 2002
Publicity Bosnia-Herzegovina 2002
Slovenia 2002
Efficiency Bosnia-Herzegovina 2002
Romania 1999
Independence Albania 1999
Romania 1999
Predictability/ Macedonia 2000
Reliability Poland 1998
Service to the public Albania 1999
Moldova 2002

Scope of t h e Laws

Public Employees Expressly Included in the Scope of the Law

Only some acts contain express lists of the public employees covered by the law. Below are
Additional principles are (by country): Albania 1999: "integrity;" Hungary 1997 - "Public Officials'
Interest-Conciliation Forum shall participate in the development of the ethical norms;" Lithuania 2002: "ca-
reer development;" Macedonia 2000: "fairness;" Moldova 2002 - "competence; initiative; protection of legal
activity of a civil service employee; democracy;" Montenegro 2005 - "liability for lawful, efficient and rational
utilization of public funds;" Romania 1999 - "selected by competence;" Slovakia 2001: "flexibility;" Slovenia
2002 - "not accept gifts (of a value higher than 15.000 tolars), confidentiality, diligence as manager, protection
of professional interests, open competition, transferability."

their provisions:

B o s n i a and Herzegovina 2003: "The civil servants of the Diplomatic and Consular Service

and the Border Service shall be subject to the application of this Law." (article 6)

Croatia 2005: "The provisions of this Act shall apply to civil servants in state bodies, the

courts, penal institutions, the administrative staff of the Croatian Parliament, the

administrative staff of the Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia, the

administrative services and offices of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, the

administrative staff of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia, the

administrative staff of the Ombudsman, the administrative staff of the Children's

Ombudsman, the administrative staff of the Gender Equality Ombudsman, the State

Audit Office, and other bodies established to perform civil service (hereinafter: state

bodies)." (article 2)

Estonia 1999: "The Public Service Act shall extend, insofar as not otherwise provided by or

on the basis of the Constitution or specific laws, to: 1) the Auditor General; 2) the

Legal Chancellor; 3) judges; 4) police officers; 5) border guard officials; 6) prison officers;

7) prosecutors." (article 12.3)

H u n g a r y 1997: "The scope of this act covers the public service legal relationship of public

officials, administrators and blue-collar workers of the Prime Minister's Office, the

ministries and agencies of nation-wide authority (henceforth jointly: central public

administration agencies), regional and local agencies, public administration offices of the

counties and the capital, office of the representative body and official administrative

associations of local governments, notarial districts (henceforth jointly: office of

representative body). In the lack of differing provision of any act, the provisions of this

act shall govern the public service legal relationship of public officials, administrators

and blue-collar workers of the Office of the President of the Republic, the Office of the

Parliament, the Office of the Constitutional Court, the Office of the Commissioner of

the Parliament, the State Audit Office, the Council of Public Procurement, the Office of

the National Radio and Television Board and the Office of Economic Competition."

(article 1)

M a c e d o n i a 2000: "Civil servant [...] is a person employed in the bodies of state

administration and in the expert services of: the Assembly of the Republic of

Macedonia, the president of the Republic of Macedonia, the government of the Republic

of Macedonia, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia, the Supreme

Court of the Republic of Macedonia, the courts, the Republic Judicial Council, the

Ombudsman, the Public Prosecution, the National Bank of the Republic of Macedonia

and the State Audit Office. The provisions of this Law shall appropriately apply to

persons employed in the bodies of the units of local self-government and of the City of

Skopje who perform activities as defined in paragraph (1) of this Article as well as

persons who perform delegated matters in accordance with law and to persons employed

in the public services and institutions that perform functions of the state delegated as

public authorities." (article 3)

Moldova 2002: "Parliament Apparatus; President's Apparatus; State Chancel-lery;

Secretary of the Constitutional Court; Chamber of Accounts Apparatus and Divisions;

Supreme Council of Magistrate Apparatus; Management of central public authorities

constituted by the President of the Republic of Moldova, Parliament or government;

Prefect's Management; Republic of Moldova's representation structures with the

international institutions; Apparatus of the central and territorial divisions of the

ministries, departments and other specialized central public authorities; Apparatuses

and territorial divisions of departments and other public administration bodies

subordinated to specialized central public authorities; Central and territorial divisions of

the State Archives Services; Local public administration authorities, their autonomous

divisions and sections, irrespective of the sources of financing; Judiciary, prosecutor's,

diplomatic, tax service, Center for combating economic crises and corruption, state

inspectorates, customs, state security, interior affairs bodies, defence bodies as well as

persons holding public functions with the above specified public authorities." (Annex 1)

Poland 1998: "Civil Service corps shall consist of employees employed in servants' positions

in: 1) the Chancellery of the Prime Minister; 2) Offices of Ministers and Chairmen of

Committees which are members of the Council of Ministers and offices of central

agencies of Government administration; 3) voivodship offices and other offices which

constitute structures supporting local agencies of Government administration,

subordinate to Ministers or central Government administration; 4) Government Centre

for Strategic Studies; 5) headquarters, inspection offices and other organisational units

which compose structures in support of heads of unified voivodship services, inspections

and guards as well as heads of poviat services, inspections and guards." (article 2)

Slovakia 2001: "(1) A Service Office, for the purposes of this Act, shall be a) ministry or

other central state administration body; b) body or office which performing state affairs,

(i.e. 1. Office of the National Council of the Slovak Republic (hereinafter as "Office of

the National Council"), 2. Office of the President of the Slovak Republic, 3. Supreme

Audit Office of the Slovak Republic (hereinafter as "Supreme Audit Office"), 4.

Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic (hereinafter as "Constitutional Court"), 5.

Court, 6. General Prosecutor's Office, Regional Prosecutor's Office, Higher Military

Prosecutor's Office, District Military Prosecutor's Office); c) local state administration

body; d) other state administration body; e) unit of the Police Force; f) Academy of the

Police Force; g) organisational unit of the military forces assigned by the competent

ministry governing military forces; h) organizational unit of the Military Intelligence; i)

organisational unit of the Slovak Intelligence Service; j) unit of the Railway Police; k)

basic unit of the Prison Wardens and Judicial Guards Corps of the Slovak Republic. (2)

Service Office of civil servant at District Prosecutor's Offices shall be Regional

Prosecutor's Office. (3) The Supreme Service Office shall be a Service Office with no

superior Service Office. (4) Superior Service Office shall be a Service Office managing,

controlling and coordinating activities of a subordinate Service Office." (article 7)

Public Employees Expressly Excluded from t h e Scope of the Law

Only some acts contain express lists of the public employees not covered by the law. Below

are their provisions:

B o s n i a and Herzegovina 2003: "Members of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina

(hereinafter the Presidency), Members of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and

Herzegovina (hereinafter the Parliamentary Assembly), the Council of Ministers

(hereinafter the Council of Ministers), Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Members of the

Standing Committee on Military Matters, Judges of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia

and Herzegovina (hereinafter the Constitutional Court), Judges of the Court of Bosnia

and Herzegovina (hereinafter the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina), Governors and

Vice-Governors of the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter the Central

Bank), the Auditor-General and the Deputy Auditors-Generals of the Supreme Audit

Institution of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter the Supreme Audit Institution) are

not civil servants and their legal status shall be regulated by law.

Individuals employed as Advisors to the Members of the Parliamentary Assembly, the

Members of the Presidency, the Chair of the Council of Ministers, the Ministers and the

Deputy Ministers, the Governor and Vice Governors of the Central Bank are not civil

servants." (article 4)

"This Law shall not apply to the persons employed at the BiH Central Bank." (article


Bulgaria 1999: "The following people are not civil servants in the context of this Act: 1.

the members of the political cabinets, the deputy regional governors and the deputy

mayors of municipalities; 2. the persons, who accomplish technical functions in the

administration." (article 3)

Czech Republic 2002: "(1) This Act shall not apply to the members of the Government

and members of the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting. (2) This Act shall

not apply, with the exception of remuneration and rights specified in paragraph 1 above,

to the Head of the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic (hereinafter the

"Office of the Government"). (3) This Act shall also not apply, with the exception of

remuneration and organizational aspects relating to employment, to a) the press agent

of a member of the Government; b) the head of an organizational department working

for a member of the Government, to advisors and employees who carry out further,

otherwise designated activities for a member of the Government; c) a deputy member of

the Government and deputy Head of the Office of the Government; d) the head of an

organizational department working for the Head of the Office of the Government, to

advisors and employees who carry out further, otherwise designated activities for the

Head of the Office of the Government; e) employees who only carry out auxiliary,

maintenance or manual work in administrative authorities, as well as to employees who

only direct, organize and control performance of auxiliary, maintenance or manual

work." (article 2)

Estonia 1999: "This Act, except 1 - 4, 6, 9, 10, 40 - 43, 76 and 153 159, shall not extend

to: 1) members of the Riigikogu; 2) the President of the Republic; 3) members of the

Government of the Republic; 4) members of a local government council." (article 12.2)

H u n g a r y 1997: "The scope of this act does not cover: a) with the exception of the system

of remuneration and the exceptions set forth in the act governing their legal status, the

Prime Minister, the ministers and the parliamentary under-secretaries of state; b) in the

lack of differing provision of any act, the agencies of the Hungarian Army, the Customs

Guard, the Police, the National Security Services, the Guardian Regiment of the

Republic, the Fire-Department, the Customs and Finance Guard, the Law Enforcement,

the Civil Defence and the Armed Security Guard; c) in the lack of differing provision of

any statutory law, those employed for performing public services subject to the scope of

responsibilities of local governments - in the Mayor's Office; d) those employed within

the framework of assignments in the interest of the public and of communal works."

(article 2)

Latvia 2000: "The Prime Minister, the Minister, the Minister of Special Assignment, the

Deputy Prime Minister (hereinafter - the Minister), the Minister of State, the

Parliamentary Secretary and persons who perform secretariat services for those officials

(assistants, advisors, public relations specialists) are not civil servants." (article 3.3)

Lithuania 2002: "This Law shall not apply to: 1) state politicians; 2) judges of the

Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, the Supreme Court of Lithuania, the

Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania and other courts, as well as prosecutors; 3)

the Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania, his deputies, members of the

Board and other servants of the Bank of Lithuania; 4) heads of public institutions and

agencies appointed by the Seimas or the President of the Republic, other state officials

appointed by the Seimas or the President of the Republic, except for paragraph 3 of

Article 33 of this Law; 5) chairmen of state (standing) commissions and councils, their

deputies and members appointed by the Seimas or the President of the Republic, as well

as chairmen and members of commissions, councils, boards of funds established under

special laws, except for paragraph 3 of Article 33 of this Law; 6) servicemen in the

professional military service; 7) employees of state and municipal enterprises; 8)

employees of public establishments; 9) employees working under employment contracts

and receiving remuneration from the state and municipal budgets, as well as state

monetary funds." (article 4.3)

M a c e d o n i a 2000: "The provisions of this Law shall not apply to persons wearing uniform in

the Ministry of Internal Affairs, to military and civil personnel serving in the Army of

the Republic of Macedonia, in the penal-correctional and education-correctional

institutions nor to the persons with special duties and authorities employed in the

Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of internal Affairs and the intelligence Agency, unless

it is otherwise set forth in another law." (article 3.5)

M o l d o v a 2002: "Not coming within the purview of the present law are the President of the

Republic of Moldova, deputies of the Parliament, members of the Government, judges of

the Constitutional Court, members of the Supreme Court of Justice, members of the

Supreme Council of Magistrate, councilors of the local public management bodies and

mayors, legal status of which is governed by the constitution and other relevant laws."

(article 3.3)

M o n t e n e g r o 2 0 0 5 : "A Civil Servant, in terms of this law, is not a Member of Parliament,

or a person that is elected or appointed by the Parliament of the Republic of

Montenegro." (article 2)

Slovakia 2 0 0 1 : "(7) Civil service of the members of the Police Fo'ce, members of the Slovak

Intelligence Service, members of the Corps of Prison Wardens and Judiciary Guards,

members of Railway Police, Customs Officers and professional soldiers and members of

Fire-Brigades shall be governed by special regulations.

(8) This Act shall not apply to: a) Members of the Parliament of the Slovak Republic

(hereinafter referred to as "Members of the Parliament"), the President of the Slovak

Republic (hereinafter referred to as "the President"), members of the Government of the

Slovak Republic (hereinafter referred to as "Government members"), the President of

the Supreme Audit Office of the Slovak Republic (hereinafter referred to as "President

of the Supreme Audit Office") and Vice-President of the Supreme Audit Office of the

Slovak Republic (hereinafter referred to as "Vice-President of the Supreme Audit

Office"); b) Judges of the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic (hereinafter

referred to as "Constitutional Court judges"); c) Judges; d) Prosecutors; e) Employees

of Service Offices not performing tasks pursuant to paragraph (2) or paragraph (4)."

(articles 2.7 and 2.8)

.Slovenia 2002: "Public companies and commercial companies, where the state or local

communities are controlling shareholders or have prevailing influence, shall not be a part

of the public sector under this Act." (article 1.3)

"Particular issues relating to judicial personnel, personnel in state prosecutor's office,

state attorney's office and in independent bodies competent for violations, diplomats,

professional members of the Slovenian Army, civil servants in the field of defence, civil

protection and rescue, police officers, inspectors, employees in the customs and tax

administration, personnel in the service for execution of sentences, authorised public

officers in security services and other public officers with special authorisations, may be

governed by law in a manner different in respect of the provisions of this Act, if so

necessary due to the specific nature of the tasks or the performance of special duties and

authorisations." (article 22.2)


The specified rights of civil servants are:

1. Guaranteed job (Albania);

2. Protection from the state during fulfillment of service (Albania, Bosnia and

Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, and Romania);

3. To perform other activities (Albania);

4. Safe and healthful working conditions (Croatia, Latvia, and Romania);

5. Adequate organizational and technical conditions (Croatia, Czech Republic, Latvia, and


6. Be treated with respect by superior (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Czech


7. Form labor unions/take part in union activities (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina,

Bulgaria) 3 Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, and Slovenia);

8. Form professional organizations (Bulgaria and Romania);

9. Be member of political parties (Albania - but not of the steering committees; Bulgaria -

but cannot be guided by and protect the interests and will of the political party to

which belongs; Lithuania; and Macedonia - but cannot participate directly in campaigns

during office hours nor wear or place party symbols at the office);

10. Salary and additional remuneration for years of service, extra work, etc. (all countries);

11. Equal pay for equal work (Croatia and Czech Republic);

12. Pension (Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia);

13. Promotion (Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, and Montenegro);

14. Training for professional development, paid by the state (all states, except for Albania,

Estonia, and Romania);

15. Health benefits (Albania - for civil servant and dependents; Bulgaria, Lithuania,

Moldova, Romania, and Slovakia);

16. Annual leave (paid and unpaid). On average, civil servants are entitled to 20-25

working days of paid leave, though the actual numbers vary from 18 in Montenegro (it

can reach up to 26, depending on year of service) to 50 in Bulgaria (for senior members)

and 35 in Estonia and the Czech Republic. In addition, civil servant are entitled to

unpaid leave of variable length (the most 'generous' are Poland where civil servants can

be on leave for up to 5 years, and Moldova and Bulgaria with 60 days);

17. Other types of leave. Several countries offer medical leave (Bosnia and Herzegovina,

Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, and Slovakia), while other stipulate the right of civil
The state shall "assist the trade union organisations in the implementation of their activities, providing
them gratis with rooms and other facilities necessary for the implementation of their functions" (article 46)

servants to take time off for special circumstances such as getting married (Bulgaria),

death of a family member (Bulgaria and Lithuania), or provide for maternity leave

(Czech Republic, Romania and Slovakia). Indicative of the effort to improve the level of

professionalism, a majority of the countries offer the right to leave for training or

continuing education; 4

18. Freedom to express opinions (Bulgaria and Romania);

19. Working hours. When they are specified, working hours are limited to 40 hours per

week, 8 hours per day (Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia);


20. Other rights: work for an international organization (Albania); be rewarded according

to duties and performance (Bosnia and Herzegovina); to representative uniform and

clothes, if required by position (Bulgaria, Romania); confidentiality of correspondence

(Bulgaria); submit proposals regarding the civil service, petitions, and complaints

(Croatia); return to the same position in case of special leave (Croatia, Czech Republic,

Latvia, Lithuania); state will pay tuition of child whose both parents have been in

service for more than 15 years (Estonia); housing and food costs reimbursement for

certain categories (Estonia); special allowance in case of financial difficulty (Lithuania);

seek protection in court (Macedonia); housing (Moldova); one hot main meal (Slovakia);

collective bargaining (Slovenia).


The main duties of civil servants are:

1. Know, respect, and implement the laws/comply with legal regulations during the

performance of service (Albania, Croatia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova,

and Slovakia);
In Bulgaria and Croatia civil servants are paid during the training leave. To ensure their return to the
public service, Croat civil servants must serve in the civil service for twice the duration of the study after the
end of the training program. In the Czech Republic civil servants can take such a leave for 5 days per year, in
Latvia for 20 days per year, and in Estonia for 3 months every 5 years. In Lithuania, civil servants in service
for at least 3 months can take up to 1 year of leave to improve their qualifications.

Table B . 3 . T h e Right t o Strike.

Country Specifically Allowed Specifically P r o h i b i t e d

Albania 1999 article 19.f
B o s n i a and article 15.1.1
Herzegovina 2003
Bulgaria 1999 article 47
Croatia 2005
Czech principals cannot strike
Republic 2002 article 66
Estonia 1999
H u n g a r y 1997
Latvia 2000
Lithuania 2002 except heads of department
and senior officials
article 16.1.6
M a c e d o n i a 2000 must ensure a minimum of
uninterrupted service;
paid 60% of monthly salary
article 27
Moldova 2002 not if body provides vitally
important services to society
article 11.3.g
M o n t e n e g r o 2005
P o l a n d 1998 article 69
R o m a n i a 1999 article 28
Slovakia 2001 right restricted if strike
endangers public health
article 148
Slovenia 2002 article 19

2. Be loyal to the government irrespective of their political convictions (Czech Republic,

Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovakia);

3. Protect the reputation of the state/refrain from activities that would damage the

reputation of the institution (Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Slovakia) or harm the interests

of the state (Poland);

4. Perform assigned tasks in a professional, timely, and effective manner: all countries,

except Albania. Under the Croat law, the performance of tasks must be realized in

accordance with the "principle of accessibility to public scrutiny" (article 15). Under

several acts (Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Romania) there is also an express

obligation to execute the orders given by superiors, if they are not illegal. Civil servants

may also be asked to perform additional tasks (or tasks different from the ones implied

by their position) in exceptional circumstances (Croatia, Czech Republic, Latvia,

Montenegro, and Slovenia) as well as to substitute temporarily absent civil servants

(Croatia and Estonia);

5. Perform activities in an impartial, politically neutral manner (Croatia, Czech Republic,

Macedonia, and Slovakia). Related, under the Slovak law civil servants' political

activities should not affect their service, while Romanian civil servants should refrain

from expressing political beliefs. Under the Macedonian law, civil servants should not be

guided by their political beliefs or personal financial interests in the realization of their


6. Serve and assist the public (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Lithuania, and Moldova). In

Bulgaria, Lithuania, and Poland civil servants must acknowledge and respect the rights

of the public;

7. Provide information to the public: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,

Lithuania, Macedonia;

8. Not show rudeness/be polite (Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovakia, and Poland);

9. Disclose their name and position (Czech Republic, Macedonia, and Slovakia);

10. Keep confidentiality of public documents (Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Macedonia,

Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia);

11. Respect working hours and use them only for official duties (Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia,

Czech Republic, Montenegro, and Slovakia);

12. Improve professional capabilities/participate in training programs (all countries, except


13. Not to seek or accept any additional gains for fulfilling their duties (Albania, Bosnia and

Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Macedonia, Romania, and Slovakia.

Croat civil servants are also forbidden, in article 18, from offering "gifts or other benefits

to other civil servants, their relatives or spouses or common-law partners for personal


14. Not to undertake any work that would constitute conflict of interest (Albania, Czech

Republic, Lithuania, and Slovakia);

15. Not to use government property for personal gain (Albania, Croatia, Lithuania, and


16. Not make announcements in the name of the institution, unless expressly authorized

(Bulgaria and Latvia);

17. Bear responsibility for the legality of their acts (Albania and Lithuania);

18. Not to behave in a manner inconsistent with the Code of Ethics (Albania and Czech


19. Notify the institution regarding criminal proceedings started against him/her (Czech

Republic and Slovakia) and declare any economic interests (Estonia);

20. Comply with service discipline (Czech Republic);

21. Properly manage public funds (Czech Republic); and

22. Other duties established by law.

Interestingly, under the Bosnian law, a civil servant is prohibited from occupying real estate

property owned by a refugee or displaced person or "an apartment where a refugee or

displaced person has claimed an occupancy right" (article 14.5). In Moldova, public servants

must "study public opinion and take it into account while performing service duties" (article


Code of Ethics

The Code of Ethics is generally left to secondary legislation (Croatia 2005, Montenegro 2005,

Slovakia 2001, Slovenia 2002). Estonia 1999 contains the Code as an annex to the law. The

Code of Ethics regulates that:

"1. An official is a citizen in the service of people.

2. The activities of an official shall be based on respect for the Constitution of the

Republic of Estonia provided for in the oath of office.

3. An official shall adhere, in his or her activities, to the legally expressed will of

politicians who have received a mandate from the citizens.

4. Public authority shall be exercised solely in the public interest.

5. Public authority shall always be exercised pursuant to law.

6. The exercise of public authority shall always involve liability.

7. The exercise of public authority is, as a rule, a public activity.

8. An official shall be prepared to make unpopular decisions in the public interest.

9. A person exercising public authority shall endeavour to achieve as broad participation of

citizens in the exercise of authority as possible.

10. An official shall always, in his or her activities, subject departmental interests to public


11. An official shall be politically impartial in his or her activities.

12. An official shall make decisions based on public and generally understandable criteria.

13. An official shall avoid creating a situation which arouses or may arouse suspicion with

regard to his or her impartiality or objectivity in considering matters under suspicion.

14. An official shall treat property entrusted to him or her economically, expediently and


15. An official shall use information which becomes known to him or her through official

duties solely in the public interest.

16. A person exercising public authority is characterised by honesty and respect for the

public and co- employees.

17. An official shall be polite and helpful when communicating with people.

18. An official shall be respectable, responsible and conscientious.

19. An official shall do his or her best in the public service by constant individual


20. An official shall facilitate the spread of the above principles in every way."

Termination of Service

The most common circumstances under which the employment relationship ends are:

1. Not imputable to the civil servant:

Expiry of term, if appointed for a fixed term;

Medical incapacity to perform duties;

Dismissal because of redundancies, restructuring, closing of office;



Mutual consent.

2. Imputable to the civil servant:

Unsatisfactory probationary period;

Two consecutive negative ratings;

Failure to meet requirements at the time of appointment;

Loss of citizenship or acquisition of new citizenship;

Refusal to give oath and or/declare assets;

Dismissal as a disciplinary measure;

Conviction for criminal offense;



A unique provision, in Poland a civil servant can be dismissed for 'loss of impeccable

reputation' (article 61.1).

The age of retirement varies from 55 for women and 60 for men (in Poland), to 62 years and

6 months (in Lithuania), and 65 years (in Estonia, Croatia, and Slovakia). In Moldova, civil

servants can retire up to five years before the retirement age, but get only 75% of the pension.

In case of resignation, civil servants must give notice whose length varies from 15 days in

Romania to two months in Hungary.

Appeal Bodies

The bodies that solve appeals against decision concerning civil servants must be independent

bodies, free from political interference. In some systems, civil or administrative courts have

jurisdiction over these cases (Bulgaria, Estonia, and Hungary), while in other the decision of

the appeal body can be contested in civil courts (Albania, Montenegro, and Poland).

What is the composition of these bodies?

Albania: Civil Service Commission is composed of five members appointed by the

National Assembly (two proposed by the Council of Ministers, one by the High State

Control, and two by a meeting of local government representatives) for a term of seven

and a half years;

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Civil Service Board is composed of three members who are

selected through open competition for a renewable term of four years;

Croatia: Civil Service Tribunals are composed of judges appointed by the Government;

Czech Republic: appeals are handled by a second degree disciplinary commission

established with the General Directorate for Public Service. The law does not specify

the mode of selection of the members, only that its composition must differ from that of

the first degree disciplinary commission;

Montenegro: Appeals Commission is composed of seven members appointed by the

government on proposal of the ministry competent for administrative affairs (at least

one member must represent the trade unions). Their term is of fours years, and cannot

be reelected.

Poland: High Disciplinary Commission has 11 members, appointed by the Prime

Minister on motion by the Head of Civil Service from among civil servants for six years.

Romania: no details offered about the Disputed Claim Office.

Slovenia: appeals are managed by appellate commission, established with the

Government, other state bodies, and representative associations of local communities.

The members of the commission established with the Government are appointed by the

Government on proposal of the minister responsible for the administration. The

members of the other commission are appointed by the respective state bodies. They

are all appointed for a renewable term of five years.

These institutions are designed to be independent in their decision-making process. For

example, members of the Albanian Civil Service Commission are given a level of immunity

similar to that of the Supreme Court judges.

Appeals must generally be solved in a 30-day period.


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Author's Biography

Angelica Ghindar was born in Iai, Romania on March 14, 1980. She attended Alexandru

loan Cuza University in her native city and graduated with an LL.B in public and private law

in June 2002. After graduating, she came to the United States to pursue her graduate studies.

She received a Master of Arts in Political Science at the,University of Illinois,

Urbana-Champaign in May 2004. Researching issues related to the processes of democratic

consolidation and institutional reform, she defended her thesis in December 2008. In

November 2008 she began her career as a political affairs officer at the United Nations in New

York City.