Publication details

Bureaucratic Responsiveness in Slovakia and Czechia: Political staff, patronage bureaucracy and ministerial advisers at work

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Year of publication 2023
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
Description The paper seeks to explore the roles of ministerial advisers in a broader intra-executive settings of politicization, namely where political responsiveness is being achieved with high-ranking political staff and patronaged bureaucracy (when ministers fire and hire formally meritocratic bureaucratic personnel). The presence and mutual interactions of actors that are politically responsive to governing elites affects advisers’ functions and responsibilities which needs to be explored in a more systematic manner. How does patronage bureaucracy, various types of political staff, and ministerial advisers interact among each other to provide responsiveness to politicians? Using the most similar systems design, the paper investigates the roles of ministerial advisers in Slovakia and Czechia. Top-level political staff at the ministries typically come from high- ranking members of political parties that control the government. Distribution of these posts reflects the logic of bargaining among governing political parties. The key differencebetween the two cases rests in the fact that the level of patronage in the ministerial bureaucracy is considerable in Slovakia, while in Czechia it is quite limited. In other words, the posts in Slovak ministerial bureaucracy are heavily patronage-based, while the Czech civil service is considered merit-based. The paper uses semi-structured interviews with advisers, top civil servants, and high-ranking political appointees as the main method of investigation.
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