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Administrative TraditionsUnderstanding the Roots of Contemporary Administrative Behavior$
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B. Guy Peters

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780198297253

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198297253.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 05 December 2021

The Napoleonic Tradition

The Napoleonic Tradition

(p.54) 3 The Napoleonic Tradition
Administrative Traditions

B. Guy Peters

Oxford University Press

Some features of the administrative system in France predate Napoleon and his framing of the French state. But the Napoleonic model of the state remains a crucial means of understanding public administration in France. For example, the emphasis on law as the foundation of administration and of accountability can be seen as Napoleonic. Likewise, although the French state has become more decentralized, the emphasis on uniformity and control from Paris still survives to some extent. That centralization also is related to the relatively weak connections of the French state with social actors, especially when compared to other European countries. As well as serving as the foundation for French administration the Napoleonic model has been dispersed to other countries in Europe such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. The legal foundations of the Napoleonic tradition have made it resistant to many contemporary reforms in the public sector, notably those based on New Public Management.

Keywords:   Napoleonic tradition, centralization, developmental state, diffusion, New Public Management, administrative law

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