Instructions: You will choose two of the following prompts to respond to. Your responses should range between 3-5 double-spaced pages (you will be graded on how fully you answer the questions, not the length of your answers – shorter answers must be succinct and still cover all the appropriate material). Rely on the assigned readings to support your answers. As always, proofread your responses and cite sources appropriately.
1.One of the central goals of CPA research is to compare differing administrative structures in order to determine which system is superior. This central goal relies on defining what characteristics superior systems of administration will have. Discuss how the field of CPA measures the superiority of certain systems or practices over less superior alternatives. Simply put, what does it mean for one system of public administration to be better than another and how do you measure that?
2.Much of the research in comparative public administration focuses on comparing the administration of developed countries (mostly American and Western Europe) with developing countries, but cultural factors are also seen as important in understanding differences in systems of administration. Using the assigned readings, discuss the debate over whether development or culture is the more significant factor in shaping the system of public administration developed within a country. Which do you find to be the most significant and why?
3.Comparative research has to deal with the tradeoff between specific studies and generalizable findings. On one hand, it is valuable to conduct detailed studies of administrative systems or practices in a specific country to fully understand how the administration system of a foreign country operates. On the other hand, it is also valuable to be able to simplify findings so that they can be generalized across countries. Discuss the debate between specificity and generalizability in the CPA literature. What are the benefits and drawbacks of in-depth studies compared with broad cross-country analyses? Is there always a tradeoff between specificity and generalizability, or is it possible to achieve both while conducting research in CPA?
4.You have now been exposed to a multitude of differing administration structures and practices through the assigned readings over the past few weeks. Choose two differing administrative structures or practices that you have come across in the readings and compare and contrast these two. Which of the two systems do you find to be a better alternative, and how would you justify your claim that one is better than the other? (for this question, you may find additional sources that discuss the systems you are comparing – just be sure to cite any sources you use)