Back to overview

Administrative Reforms in Swiss Municipalities over the Last Twenty Years – The end of New Public Management?

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Ladner Andreas,
Project Local Autonomy and Local Public Sector Reforms
Show all

Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Lex localis - Journal of Local Self-Government
Volume (Issue) 14(2)
Page(s) 185 - 207
Title of proceedings Lex localis - Journal of Local Self-Government
DOI 10.4335/14.2.185-207(2016)


There has been much talk about the end the NPM in recent years. Our comprehensive monitoring of Swiss municipalities, however, reveals that a lot of municipalities have continued to reform their political and administrative system along the ideas of NPM. It is the reform discourse that has changed. They stopped referring to them as NPM. Some of the core elements of NPM related to new forms of political steering, however, proved to be less popular. The reforms can therefore be termed as “NPM light”. When it comes to explaining the spread of the different reform activities within the country, we find evidence for the historical and sociological neo-institutionalism. There are considerable differences between language areas and between smaller and larger municipalities. Party preferences of local executives and of the citizens do not matter. The results shed new light on the debate about the assumed failure of NPM reforms.