Joined-up government in the Western world in comparative perspective: a preliminary literature review and exploration

January 2004
Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory;1/1/2004, Vol. 14 Issue 1, p103
Academic Journal
In many Western countries, policymakers are making greater efforts toward improving horizontal coordination and integration between departments and agencies within government than seemed to be the case in the mid-1980s. "Joined up government" is a slogan that originated in the United Kingdom but has been widely picked up elsewhere. However, not all countries are "joining up," and those that are, are not all doing it in the same way. After setting out some basic definitions of terms, several of the main explanations offered in the literature for the differences in styles of coordination and integration are considered and rejected as being circular or as failing to explain enough of either the geographical variance or the changes over time. Instead, a neo-Durkheimian institutionalist explanation is presented, which is non-circular, and which, although not yet tested empirically, would provide a richer account of both geographical and historical differences. This article then reviews the public management literature to present a provisional inventory of what appear to be some of the main differences of styles of "joining up" between Western countries; these are summarized in a table.


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