The technocratic rationality of governance: The case of the Danish employment services

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This study analyzes technocracy as a distinct rationality and shows how this rationality continues to inform the adoption and restructuring of new governance arrangements within the public sector. The recalibration of governance arrangements according to a technocratic rationality offers a way for governments to retain control amidst increasing decentralization and local self- governance. This is empirically illustrated through an analysis of recent changes in the governance of the Danish employment services. The analysis shows how recent changes in economic incentives, procedural regulations, and the performance monitoring of municipal job centers – officially adopted to increase local self- governance and autonomy – have been reshaped to accommodate the Ministry of Employment’s strategy of evidence-based policymaking. The article argues that this technocratic reshaping of governance arrangements increases central government control, while – at the same time – running the risk of ignoring the democratic aspects of public sector governance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCritical Policy Studies
Number of pages19
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jan 2021


  • Evidence-based policymaking
  • active labor market policies (ALMPs)
  • democratic governance
  • governance
  • technocracy

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