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Designing & Implementing Reforms


The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed on this Web page are entirely those of the author(s) and should not be attributed in any manner to the World Bank, to its affiliated organizations, or to members of its Board of Executive Directors or the countries they represent. The World Bank does not guarantee the accuracy of the information included here and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of its use.

A brief review of trends in public administration over the last 25 years reveals different approaches to reform, stemming from deeply-rooted and diverging concepts of the role of the state, as well as the emergence of new demands from civil society. Nonetheless, key findings from reforms undertaken in both developing and industrialized countries reveal a convergence on the importance of a sound, highly performing public service. Click on the appropriate link below to view a synopsis of administrative reform trends by region.

East Asia


Eastern Europe and Central Asia

South Asia

Latin America and the Caribbean


Detailed country reform summaries were prepared for fourteen countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, South Korea, the UK, and the USA. Representatives of the Russian Federation Government selected the countries as they wished to see a summary of the administrative reform challenges facing similar problems with similar starting points, and those of some countries confronted with very different circumstances. These summaries are used as analysis for the paper "Building on Strengths: Lessons from Comparative Public Administration Reforms" prepared for the government of the Russian Federation by Nick Manning and Neil Parison, with Kathy Lalazarian, Jana Orac and Jeff Rinne, all in the World Bank. (A link to this paper is under preparation). Click here to access the summaries.

This section of the website also includes a discussion of strategies and sequencing to improve public administration and governance, noting both the distinct motives and opportunities for administrative and civil service reform in diverse developing country settings. The World Bank and several other donors have a lengthy history of supporting administrative reform. The results have been decidedly mixed. The page on evaluation of donor-supported reform projects reviews the Bank’s experience with administrative reform and searches for potential lessons.

Finally, Project Appraisal Documents (PADs) of innovative public sector reform projects, as well as an assessment of past public sector management projects and an direction for the future, are provided at the page on designing World Bank projects.


This page was initially prepared by Katrina Sharkey of the World Bank. It was submitted on 23 June 2000 and revised on 20 June 2002.