INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON PUBLIC POLICYInternational Conference on Public Policy

Frontier of governance, The OECD and Global Public Management Reform

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LESLIE A. PAL Chancellor’s Professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Public sector reform, public management and public governance have become crucial issues since the financial crisis in 2008, but they have been on national as well as global policy agendas for at least fifty years. The OECD has been key to the development of these agendas, but its role and impact have never been explored closely. In this book, Leslie Pal examines the role of the OECD and of global policy networks around public sector reform. Based on extensive interviews and internal documents, the book shows how public management emerged as a policy field within the OECD, explores the tools that the organization uses to achieve its ends, and provides an analysis of what ’good governance’ means to the OECD, and hence a large part of the world. It provides one of the closest analyses of how an international governmental organization actually works, and how it contributes toa web of global governance.


’Frontiers of Governance is a singular contribution to our understanding of the inner workings and outer influence of the OECD, particularly in terms of the organization’s role in public management reform, public policy development, and governance issues around the world.’
- Jocelyne Bourgon, President of Public Governance International, former Clerk of the Privy Council, Canada, former Permanent Representative to the OECD, Delegation of Canada

’This is a timely work in an impressive series. Pal shows why the study of the OECD is indispensable for an understanding of networked governance. Going beyond traditional club-oriented institutional analyses, this well-crafted book probes issues at the core of current debates about policy adaption from budgeting, to anti-corruption and E-government. Although aware of the constraints imposed on the OECD’s agenda, tools, and influence, Pal re-locates the OECD as a vital driver towards needed governance innovation.’
- Andrew F. Cooper, Professor, Balsillie School of International Affairs and Department of Political Science, University of Waterloo, Canada, and Distinguished Fellow, The Centre for International Governance Innovation

’Frontiers of Governance provides a definitive examination of the OECD that is both compendious and in-depth. It documents and analyses the OECD’s unrivalled role in chronicling, dissecting, and proclaiming the trends and directions of public management across three decades. There is an illuminating account of movements in thinking and practice of public management, which is grounded in the OECD country surveys and cases from its member network. The book systematically examines and evaluates the roles and impact of the OECD in expanding international understanding of public management modernisation and providing benchmarks by which countries and academics can calibrate their positions.
- John Halligan, Research Professor of Government and Public Administration, Faculty of Business and Government, University of Canberra, Australia

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