Public Policy and Administration vol:29 issue:3 pages:221-240
This paper reviews the New Public Management (NPM) literature on the effects of the creation and ongoing operations of agencies across European public sectors. It finds that the bulk of evidence concerns internal effects on processes/activities of agency creation and management and little evidence on outputs and outcomes. The article identifies a number of patterns across the sample reviewed and finds positive effects on improved processes, and an orientation towards results and service users’ needs. Similarly, it finds improvements in transparency and accountability across various countries, but evidence in these areas is less clear. It finds that 46% of the studies included in the sample identified concerns about fragmentation, coordination or organizational stability and shows that unintended consequences are an important part of the evaluation of the effects of agencification. The paper argues that the picture of the effects of agencies is nuanced and discusses possible factors that can tip the balance for or against the success of the agency model.