Agencification in Slovakia: The Current Situation and Lessons Learned

Juraj NEMEC, Beáta MIKUŠOVÁ MERIČKOVÁ, Zuzana VOZÁROVÁ

Abstract


There is little information on agencification in Slovakia. Here we try to fill this gap by focusing on both national and the sub-national governments. Our main goal is to describe the character and scale of agencification in Slovakia. We also wish to test a specific hypothesis, derived from NPM policy convergence theory: that agencification in Slovakia lacks a systematic conceptual framework located in the local context. Our research has unearthed nine countrywide service delivery agencies, plus a large number of decentralized delivery agencies (e.g. public hospitals, universities, schools and public training institutions), and 25 central regulatory agencies. This is not an exhaustive list as there is no official data on agencies. We argue that Slovak agencification – especially during the Dzurinda administrations – was mainly determined by two factors: the EU accession process and the political orientation of the governing coalition. Agencification predicts that increased managerial freedom should improve results. We show that this is true for Slovakia, even though our hypothesis that agencification in Slovakia lacks a systematic local conceptual framework is also shown to be true. We argue that despite many implementation problems, the creation of agencies in Slovakia and elsewhere in CEE was an important step forward.


Keywords


Slovakia; agencification; local public services; politics of agencies; post-comunist transition

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