The politics of public service bargains. Book by Christopher Hood and Martin Lodge

The new times comes with new managerial abilities and new public management skills were the new paradigm in public administration emphasizes on delivery, managerial ability and initiative on part of the bureaucrats is displacing more passive, autonomous and detached bureaucratic styles associated with the past eras.

And part of this lies or comes from the 2 ways public service bargains (PSB) play out.

  1. the bargains that are struck or come unstuck between bureaucrats and politicians evidently develop against the backdrop of past events and practices that differ from one country to the other.
  2. the out come of PSB don’t depend on the wants of politicians alone but they depend on the combined strategic choices of all the parties to the bargain.

In a PSB everybody wants to win but to win you will have to give.

Politicians give up some or all rights to hire fire remunerate or direct public servants at will and the public servants give up all or some rights to blame or express opposition to the ruling regime.

Politicians gain political loyalty and some form of competency (wetter it be policy, administration, managerial) and the public servants gain some assured place in the structure of the government definite sphere of responsibility and a mixture of tangible and intangible rewards.

PSB matter because they go to the hearth of politics, up to the extent that democracy itself can only exist if at least any type of control effector tool (police, army) shows allegiance to the current elected government.

Indeed the idea of ”representative bureaucracy” can sometimes be more important than electoral representation.

To understand or even to predict this type of bargains will develop, stick or unravel you need to identify the Nash equilibria in strategic interactions modeled as games.

Reward in public service bargains

Rewards form a central component of PSB and the organization itself is based on such rewards, building on this there are 4 types of reward bargains, which obviously overlap.

Lottery of Life Bargains

Non automatic or predictable rewards

(Agreement to live with the upsides and downsides of a reward casino)

Pyramid and Escalator Bargains

Structured pattern of reward

(Expectations of orderly and predictable progression)

Turkey Race Bargains

Variable rewards

(Agreement to rewards based on individual competition)

Noblesse Oblige Bargains

Relative self restraint at the top

(Agreement to a double imbalance structure with relatively less generous pay at the top

Competency in public service bargains.

This is concerned with the competency that people have to become elements on such bargains, that is what skills, knowledge, or ability are called for in exchange for the right to exercise administrative power which is needed to be highlighted changes depending to the specific period of time.

Sage Bargains

States people in disguise skills

(Provision of intellectual or moral insight)

Wonk Bargains

Technical skills

(Provision of technical knowledge and judgment)

Deliver Bargains

Skills of execution

(Provision the ability to get things done)

GO between Bargains

Boundary spanning’s skills

(Provision the ability to work across different worlds «interlocutor».)

These four types of competency bargains represent differences of emphasis and they clearly overlap just as the 4 rewards above.

Loyalty and Responsibility in Public service bargains.

At the most abstract level, all PSB could be described as the exchange of some reward package in return for some bundle o skills and capabilities. But that is a bit like describing romantic love as the exchange of passion and affection for some specified set of desired properties possessed by the loved one.

The relationship between loyalty competency and reward is perhaps even more complicated to explain that the 2 previous ones.

Jester Bargains

Irritating loyalty

Acts as reality checker for rulers

Judge Bargains

Loyalty to the state and the law

Acts as semi autonomous player with loyalty to some higher entity

Executive Bargains

Loyalty within an specified brief

Acts to pursue defined goals in some limited and revocable space of action

Partner bargains

Loyalty as confidant and co-ruler

The public servants with no sphere of autonomous action.


  • The politics of public service bargains: reward, competency, loyalty and blame / Christopher Hood. – Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press, 2006.

Cita esta página

Turati Gómez Marcelino. (2014, noviembre 19). The politics of public service bargains. Book by Christopher Hood and Martin Lodge. Recuperado de
Turati Gómez Marcelino. "The politics of public service bargains. Book by Christopher Hood and Martin Lodge". gestiopolis. 19 noviembre 2014. Web. <>.
Turati Gómez Marcelino. "The politics of public service bargains. Book by Christopher Hood and Martin Lodge". gestiopolis. noviembre 19, 2014. Consultado el .
Turati Gómez Marcelino. The politics of public service bargains. Book by Christopher Hood and Martin Lodge [en línea]. <> [Citado el ].

Escrito por:

Imagen del encabezado cortesía de strenggeheim en Flickr