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Top level civil servants and the crisis [article in Dutch]

In January 2014, an article (co-authored with Prof. dr. Steven Van de Walle, Erasmus University Rotterdam) was published in the Dutch professional journal Openbaar Bestuur. In the article, an analysis is presented concerning the perceptions of European top level servants on the main strategies and cutback measures that are used in response to the financial and economic crisis, as well as the crisis’ perceived consequences.

Our analysis is based on the COCOPS executive survey among top level European civil servants in 12 European countries. Our analysis centres on a comparison of Dutch civil servants with the rest of Europe. The main findings of our analysis are:

– In comparison with the other European countries, Dutch top managers are more likely to favor a proportional approach to implementing budget cuts (cheese-slicing).
– The Dutch civil service implements more cuts than the European average, mainly through hiring freezes, pay freezes, cancelling or postponing future programs/policy, and cutting back-offices.
– In contrast with many other European countries, the effects of the crisis on the Dutch public sector are considered to be modest, although top level civil servants report an increase in the power of Ministry of Finance, as well as the relevance of performance information.

An author’s version of the article [in Dutch] can be downloaded here.