RefPub:The Public Sector Reform in Portugal

Project title
RefPub: The Public Sector Reform in Portugal (on a comparative perspective): paths, impacts and prospective

Start and end of project
2012 to 2015

Chief Investigator
Maria Engrácia Cardim (PhD)

Research Team

Researcher Name Institutional Afiliation
Luís Mota (MSc) CAPP
Carla Costa (PhD) ISCSP
Carlos Jalali (PhD) Universidade de Aveiro
Jaime Fonseca (PhD) ISCSP
Arminda Neves (PhD) ISCSP
Patrícia Silva (PhD) Universidade de Aveiro
Pedro Goulart (PhD) CAPP/ISCSP
Luísa Pereira (MSc) CAPP/ISCSP
Francisca Cordovil (BA) IFDR
Maria Engrácia Cardim (PhD)



Consortium COCOPS: Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the Future.


The processes of public sector reform from the past decades produced heterogeneous impacts on the governance contexts (processes and structures) from different countries, notwithstanding some underlying universalism goals.
Although Portugal is an example of the divergent influence from administrative traditions and reform pressures from international actors and benchmarks, there is still a lack of information about the actual impact of administrative reforms on national public governance contexts.
In a partnership with the consortium COCOPS (, which enables the sharing of methodologies and comparisons among countries from different administrative traditions, this project aims to analyse the process of public sector reform in Portugal, particularly under the influence of the current crisis, regarding: the main triggering agents and motives; the impacts on the public governance processes and structures; the possible future public governance scenarios; and, the main differences and similarities regarding other European countries.
This project is based on the triangulation of different information sources and methodologies, namely content analysis of official documents, review of previous studies, a survey launched on 1.301 top senior executives (return rate=28.5%), and interviews to be launched on experts from the academia and the political-administrative system.


Project Outputs:

- Mota, Luís, Maria Engrácia Cardim e Luísa Pereira. “Public Sector Reform in Portugal: a path between service improvement and cutback measures”. In Public Administration Reforms in Europe: The View from the Top, editado por Gerhard Hammerschmid, Steven Van de Walle, Rhys Andrews e Philippe Bezes. No prelo pela Edward Elgar
- Mota, Luís, Luísa Pereira, Maria Engrácia Cardim, Arminda Neves e Francisca Cordovil. 2014. “Reforma do Setor Público em Portugal: Visões e Experiências de Dirigentes de Topo”. Relatório Nacional para o Workpackage 3 do projeto COCOPS.