A Topography of Civil Service Laws

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We offer a comparative study of the differences in civil service laws across countries in order to observe how these systems relate to one another. We compare the civil service laws of 26 countries from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and eight non-OECD countries from Central and Eastern Europe to identify how different configurations of civil service systems are revealed through their shared attributes. Our data are drawn from the contents of civil service legislation and the status of those civil servants covered by the civil service laws of these countries. We use cluster analysis to identify several groups of countries whose civil service systems share similar features. We find that the estimated topography, or similarity among systems, depends on both subjective decisions about the number of groups and the variables used to estimate the space. However, we draw key conclusions about the value of certain cases, like the United States, for learning about other systems, and the need for expanded knowledge of systems from Central and Eastern Europe.