The vulnerability of the four south European countries (Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain) to the global financial turmoil makes the analysis of their responses to the fiscal crisis particularly interesting for the assessment of the implications of fiscal austerity for public management. Drawing on the historical institutionalist approach, our analysis reveals a picture of variation in the impact of crisis on patterns of public management across south European countries. However, it also shows uniformity in the strategies of retrenchment as in all the four countries under examination governments failed to connect cutback management to ambitious administrative modernization programmes.
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