Reform of Public Administration in Greece Evaluating

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Reform of Public Administration in Greece Evaluating

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Reform of Public Administration in Greece Evaluating Structural Reform of Central Government Departments in Greece:
Application of the DEA Methodology
Anthony Makrydemetres1, Panagiotis D. Zervopoulos2, Maria-Eliana Pravita3
Table of contents 1. The institutional design of the political system in Greece
1.1. An overview 1.2. Structural configuration of the political system 1.3. The tradition of centralism and concentration of power 2. The Greek administrative system 2.1. The governmental structure
2.1.1. The Council of Ministers - Cabinet 2.1.2. The Prime Minister The powers of the Prime Minister 2.1.3. Collegial government organs 2.2. Ministers and ministries 2.2.1. The evolution of Central Government Departments 2.3. Decentralised units 2.4. Local government and regional authorities 2.5. The public sector 2.6. The control of public administration 2.7. Civil service 3. Reforming the administrative structure 3.1. Capacity deficit and reform 3.2. Prospects of reformand modernisation 3.3. Rowing and steering between(the Scylla of) politicisation and (the Charybdis of) bureaucratic weakness
1 Professor of Administrative Science, University of Athens (Greece). 2 Associate Professor, Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences, Bursa Orhangazi University (Turkey). 3 Lecturer in Administrative Science, University of Athens (Greece).

3.3.1. Parliamentary Clientelism 3.4. An instance of an underdeveloped bureaucracy
3.4.1. Aspects of crisis in the administrative system 3.4.2. Modernism versus tradition: a curious amalgam 3.4.3. The imbalance thesis 3.5. Politics of reform 3.6. Convergence on reform: administrative practices and prospects in Europe 4. The current Greek crisis and administrative reform 4.1. The Administrative Reform 2013 4.1.1. Focus of reform analysis 4.1.2. New structure of the ministries 5. Methodology 5.1. Variable returns to scale DEA 5.2. Targeted factor-oriented radial DEA 5.3. Stochastic DEA 5.4. Quality-driven Efficiency-adjusted DEA 5.5. Bias-correction method 5.6. Evaluating AR2013 6. Empirical results 6.1. Efficiency measurement tool 6.2. Measurement of effectiveness 7. Concluding remarks Indicative references Appendix

Abstract The focus of this study is the attempt to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of 19 Central Government Departments (CGDs) in Greece. To that end, the optimal inputs are taken into account that lead these ministerial units to improve their performance and quality of provided services. At the same time a comparison takes place between the optimal input with those defined by the recent Administrative Reform 2013 (AR2013).
The results presented in this work are obtained by four Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) models (i.e. Variable Returns to Scale DEA, Targeted factor-oriented radial DEA, Stochastic DEA, and Quality-driven Efficiency-adjusted DEA). A biascorrection method to the DEA efficiency estimators is also applied. This novel analytical methodology does more than merely attempt to defend or argue against the AR2013. It provides a scientific framework for evaluating public organisations restructuring with managerial implications. This framework is applicable to public institutions across the board (regardless of political environment or historical circumstances) for measuring the performance of public organisations services through targeted actions.
The results reveal that the AR2013 do perhaps achieve a reduction of the operating cost of the CGDs but not optimal cost cutting. Consequently, the AR2013 effort does not lead the CGDs to substantial increases of overall efficiency and effectiveness and thus to the amelioration of the predicament with which public administration in the country is being faced with for a long period of time.

Keywords Public administration, central government departments, ministries, administrative reform, public management, public organisations, Data Envelopment Analysis, efficiency, effectiveness, public services’ performance

C61, C67, D24, H11

JEL classification


1. The institutional design of the political system in Greece
1.1. An overview The crucial structural features of the Greek political system have taken shape through a complex process of change, adaptation and modernisation of the political and social life in Greece since the third decade of the nineteenth century, immediately after liberation.
More specifically, the Greek modern State was created as a result of the successful outcome of the struggle for national independence and the liberation of the Greeks from Ottoman rule. The fight for liberation lasted for approximately eight years (1821-1829) and during the course of this struggle the foundations of the political life of modern Greece were laid. It was at that period that, inter alia, three different constitutional texts (those of 1822, 1823 and 1827) were introduced and were marked by an exceptionally liberal character for that time.
The first government of the new born State was that of the Governor Ioannis Capodistrias, who was elected in April 1827 by the Third National Assembly of Troezene for a term of office of seven years. His period in office – he took up his duties in January 1828 – was prematurely cut short by his assassination in September 1831. What followed was a period of internal conflict and unrest which lasted for about two years.
Finally, in January 1833, the Bavarian Prince Otto ascended the throne of Greece and ruled the State for some 30 years (1833-1862) in an autocratic manner, until he was forced to leave the country as a result of the anti-monarchical uprising of October 1862.
The first period of King Otto’s rule (1833-1843), which took the form of an absolute monarchy, was however cut short with the outbreak of the army and civilian revolt of 3rd September 1843, as a result of which the liberal Constitution of 1844 was brought into force, together with a new electoral law. The latter provided for virtually universal suffrage (for men, at any rate) much earlier than in many other countries of Europe. Thus began the process of liberalisation, albeit partial, of the country’s political life and the regular holding of parliamentary elections, initially (1844-1864) every three years, and then (1864 onwards) every four years. More specifically, from 1844 to the present, that is, a period of over 170 years, 64 elections of members of Parliament have been held. These were interrupted by the periods of abnormality of

the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas (1936-1940), the German occupation (19401944), and of the dictatorship of the ‘Colonels’ (1967-1974).
Furthermore, the system of parliamentary democracy (namely, the confidence of Parliament to the Government of the day) was officially proclaimed by the speech from the Throne to Parliament in 1875, while the principle of the tenure and neutrality of civil servants was established by the revision of the Constitution in 1911.
In the years which followed, with a period of very acute political conflicts intervening, the system of the non-monarchical Second Hellenic Republic lasted for approximately a decade (1924-1935), in the inter-War years. Forty years later, after the grim decade of the 1940s, with the German occupation and the civil war which followed it, the political system of the Third Hellenic Republic, currently in force, was introduced as a result of the referendum of 1974 whereby monarchy was abolished in Greece.
Subsequently, by the constitutional reform of 1975 and, even more so, by that of 1986 (and those that followed), the system of the distribution of competences and of decisive influence within the political system was redetermined, in such a way that the centre of gravity of the actual functioning of parliamentary democracy focused on the Government, and particularly on its head, the Prime Minister, with the corresponding consequences for and effects upon the whole of the country’s political life (parliamentary ‘primeministerialism’).
The revision of the Constitution, in 1986, removed some of the regulatory competences of the President of the Republic, the so-called ‘super-powers’ (such as, for example, the right of dissolving the Parliament, the dismissal of the Government, and the proclamation of a referendum), and transferred them to the Parliament and the Government which enjoys a majority in it. In the last analysis, the exercise of these competences is a direct function of the options and decisive initiative of the Prime Minister. He, as leader of the Government and of the party with the parliamentary majority, possesses a complex of powers and competences which render his role, and legal and political position absolutely vital for the whole operation of the political system in the country.
Whether a Government remains in office, rests exclusively upon the confidence of the Parliament and in no way upon that of the President of the Republic, since the relevant competence of the latter to dismiss the Government, even when that

enjoyed the confidence of the Parliament, has been abolished (since the constitutional reform of it).
The President of the Republic is elected by the Parliament through a reinforced majority (2/3 or 3/5) for a renewable term of office of five years. The constitutional role he has to perform is essentially to act as the ‘regulator’ of the political system in the way that is determined by the relevant constitutional provisions in force (that is, in essence, to maintain the checks and balances of the system)4.
Therefore, it could be said that from the time of national independence onwards, the State has assumed a decisive role for the shaping of the transformation of society and economy in Greece. Thus, the model of development which was adopted in the economic field could not have been undertaken without the interpolation and active involvement of the State in it. The guiding and coordinating role of the State at the political level and in the more general process of social formation has been similarly wide-ranging and decisive. An altogether different matter is however the degree and extent of efficiency and effectiveness, let alone the quality, of state action and control of sociopolitical and economic affairs in the country.
Equally important has been the process of the gradual internal democratisation and modernisation of the functioning of the State and of the country’s political life in a general sense. The establishment and strengthening of parliamentarianism, particularly by the introduction and application in practice of the principle of the ‘declared’ confidence of Parliament in the Government, has resulted (at least since 1875) in the ensuring of the independence of the representative body in the appointment and maintenance in power of prime ministers and governments.
At the same time, the strengthening and more effective organisation of the political parties, particularly during the course of the later part of the twentieth century, has also contributed to the prominence and the leading role of the Prime Minister and the Government in the operation of the political system as a whole. According to the constitutional provision of article 37, paragraph 2, as Prime Minister is appointed the leader of the party which maintains an absolute majority of seats in
4 Since the restoration of democracy in 1974, there have been seven Presidents of the Republic: Mikhail Stassinopoulos (provisional, 1974-1975), Constantine Tsatsos (1975-1980), Constantine Karamanlis (19801985), Christos Sartzetakis (1985-1990), Constantine Karamanlis (1990-1995), Constantine Stephanopoulos (1995-2005), Carolos Papoulias (2005-2015), and the newly elected President Prokopios Pavlopoulos (2015).

the House of Parliament. He (the Prime Minister) then determines, within his own exclusive competence, the composition of the members of the Cabinet and the Government as a whole, and leads the operation of the country’s governmental and administrative machinery. He thus combines a complex of powers and competences which render his position literally unique in terms of actual power and influence within the political system. This is what renders him essentially the most important politician in the country (Makrydemetres and Pravita, 2012: 205 ff.).
1.2. Structural configuration of the political system The Greek governmental system has been shaped, as it was already mentioned before, through a process of historical evolution covering approximately two centuries, from national liberation (1830) onwards. In its present form it displays the basic features of a complex and advanced system for the division of power in Greek political society. In this context, the rule of law, representative democracy, the market economy, public services and civil society constitute fundamental elements of the social and political reality in Greece, as in the most advanced countries of the world, including of course those which make up the European Union. The above constitutive ‘evolutionary universals’ (according to Talcott Parsons’ analytical scheme, 1964) reflect the conceptual nucleus of the acquis communautaire and characterise in an inseparable manner the physiognomy of the public domain and the politico-administrative culture of the countries of Europe.
As far as the Greek political system is concerned, it exhibits the basic ‘organisational constant’ of functional and structural differentiation of its constituent elements or parts, insofar as it is organised in accordance with the principle of the separation of the powers (Article 26 of the Greek Constitution)5.
Thus, according to this fundamental organisational principle of the Constitution, the main constituent powers or the organs to which the differentiated basic functions of the political system are entrusted are as follows: the Electorate, the Political Parties, the Parliament, the Government, the Administration, and the Courts of Justice. If, furthermore, the hierarchical character of the political system’s
5 Article 26 of the Constitution, which deals with State functions, lays down that: “1. The legislative powers shall be exercised by Parliament and the President of the Republic. 2. The executive powers shall be exercised by the President of the Republic and the Government. 3. The judicial powers shall be exercised by the courts of law, the decisions of which shall be executed in the name of the Greek people”.

articulation is borne in mind, the diagrammatic representation of its functional differentiation can be presented as follows:

Electorate Political parties, Pressure groups,
Mass media



President of the Republic
Πρόεδρος της Δημοκρατίας

Government Prime Minister

Central (Ministries)



Local Government

Public Entities

Independent Authorities


According to the Constitution of 1975 as it is currently in force (after the revisions of 1986/2001/2008), which provides the master plan of the functioning of the political system, the Executive is made up of the President of the Republic and the Government. The latter, in particular, determines and directs the country’s general policy, while the Prime Minister, as its head, ensures its unity of action and directs its conduct in the implementation of public policy (Article 82 of the Constitution).
Public administration, at the central, decentralised and local level, forms (according to Articles 101-104 of the Constitution) the functionally differentiated part (sub-system) of the political system charged with the consistent and trustworthy application and implementation of the valid options and programmes of public policy as these are determined by the responsible organs or parts of the political system (Political Parties, Parliament, Government) and monitored as to their legality and constitutionality by others (the Courts of Law).
In fact, the ‘strong’ State in Greece is also shaped, inter alia, through the functional precedence of the ‘executive’ power over the rest of the major State powers (Parliament, Courts) and the primary, literally, dominant importance of the governmental branch of it (Government, Prime Minister, Ministers) as compared with its other parts (President of the Republic, Public Administration).
1.3. The tradition of centralism and concentration of power During that formative period immediately after independence and in the first half of the 19th century, a period in which Greece along with other states and societies in the area entered the era of modernity, a number of things of strategic significance had to be and were decided about the shape and the trajectory of future development of the newly established State. One of these, without doubt, was the concentration of power and decision-making authority in the ruling administrative and political leadership and élite of the State. The unification of authority, through concentration and centralism, was however made possible at the cost of local autonomy, differentiation and independence, which was severely circumscribed if not eliminated altogether.
In contrast therefore, to the long tradition of semi-autonomous local communes under Byzantine and Ottoman rule, let alone the ancient Greek inheritance of the independent city-States, the modern Greek State was formed and shaped in an altogether different manner. Thus, centralised state machinery with novel institutions