Asian Review

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This paper surveys the history of the introduction of an American-style merit-principle in the creation of a classified civil service system in the Philippines and Hawai'i. The paper illustrates how the implementation of the idea of the "merit principle" in civil service and in organizing public workers in the Philippines and Hawai'i was undermined by opposing forces within the American colonial governing apparatus. The Philippines was an early adopter of the Progressive-era “merit principle” reforms being pushed in the United States proper while Hawai‘i was one of the last—implemented halfway through the New Deal era. This paper attempts to understand why the historical establishment of this type of civil service occurred in entirely different historical legal periods and what the consequences of the historical formation are presently.



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