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Non-rational aspects of the competition state - the case of policy consultancy in Australia

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This article argues that the key strength of the competition state as an explanatory model of the motivations behind state transformation is its acknowledgement of the role of 'non-rational' factors, specifically, the roles of discourse and path-dependence, in shaping state responses to globalisation. The empirical case of state engagement in policy consultancy within the Australian context is explored as one expression of this 'transformationalist' response to the imperatives of globalisation. The findings of this case study suggest that the competition state model attributes a greater degree of strategy and reflexivity on the part of state actors, than is borne out in practice. This is because the competition state model does not account for the role played by 'competitiveness', both as a discourse and as an institutionally-embedded political commitment.
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Keywords: Australia; competition state; globalisation; policy consultancy; state actors; state transformation; strategy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Public Policy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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