In the past nine years, the Greek administration has undergone a wide range of reforms. Did the high ambitions translate into significant change? In order to provide some answers, the paper examines and compares the outcome of administrative reforms that took place in the past years in two core state areas relating to the use of state resources and presenting similar problems: (i) budgeting and fiscal management and (ii) human resources management. Reforms in these areas are assessed in relation to targeted administrative deficiencies. The main research finding is that change has been uneven. The ambitious agenda primarily resulted in the modernization of policy instruments. New policy frames competed with old ones, sometimes prevailing and sometimes being captured and hollowed out. In fiscal management there is significant change, challenging deeper policy frames and patterns accounting for critical deficiencies. In contrast, in HRM reforms results are rather unambitious. Thus the changes introduced are mostly secondary and do not challenge the core of pre- existing policy arrangements. The paper offers an explanation of these uneven outcomes and questions the conditions of reform sustainability.
This paper was presented to the Tufts/LSE Conference on Greece and the Euro: From Crisis to Recovery on April 12, 2019.