Labor-market policy regimes are in flux, not only because of the introduction of activation policies but also due to changes in the governance of Public Employment Services (PES). This paper argues that PES have been fundamentally transformed due to the “discovery” of New Public Management ideas. In the European context, these ideas first emerged in the United Kingdom and Sweden, were subsequently diffused through the OECD and the European Union, and then internalized by critical epistemic communities, including the network of the Heads of PES and the World Association of PES. Through the acceptance, diffusion and internalization of these new management ideas, common governance practices have been widely adopted in Europe, including performance, quality and case management. Policy-makers have failed, however, to agree on a “best-practice” model with respect to the local organization of labor-market policy delivery. Consequently, no hegemonic idea was established and significant national differences continue to persist.
It’s recommended for those interested in the evolution of new public management and the changing shape of workforce policies in the EU.