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4 - Illiberal Transformation of Government Bureaucracy in a Fragile Democracy: The Case of Hungary

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 August 2021

Michael W. Bauer
Affiliation:
German University of Administrative Sciences, Speyer
B. Guy Peters
Affiliation:
University of Pittsburgh
Jon Pierre
Affiliation:
University of Gothenberg
Kutsal Yesilkagit
Affiliation:
Universiteit Leiden
Stefan Becker
Affiliation:
German University of Administrative Sciences, Speyer
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Summary

Hungary represents perhaps the strongest example in the EU of what the professional literature has termed, among other things, “democratic backsliding” or “illiberal regression.” The chapter uses the analytical framework of the Introduction to analyze how Hungary’s system of governance has been transformed in the current illiberal (post-2010) era. More specifically, it enquires whether the theoretical expectations regarding the direction and nature of this transformation are corroborated by the Hungarian case. Relying on the empirical material interviews conducted with senior civil servants of the central administration, the chapter endeavors to describe both the formal and informal elements of administrative changes. The findings are rather reassuring in terms of the empirical relevance and descriptive power of the framework proposed in this book. The model offered a meaningful theoretical framework for studying and interpreting illiberal administrative reforms in Hungary. Furthermore, several expectations stemming from the model were corroborated by the empirical data, including increased centralization and patronage, as well as the culture of distrust towards the bureaucracy.

Type
Chapter
Information
Democratic Backsliding and Public Administration
How Populists in Government Transform State Bureaucracies
, pp. 76 - 99
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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