The traditional understandings that structure the relationships between public servants and the wider political system are said to have undergone considerable change. But what are these formalized and implicit understandings? What are the key dimensions of such bargains? In what conditions do bargains rise and fall? And has there been a universal and uniform change in these bargains? This book offers a distinct perspective to answer these questions. It develops a unique analytical perspective to account for diverse bargains within systems of executive government. Drawing on comparative experiences from different state traditions, it examines ideas and contemporary developments along three key dimensions of any Public Service Bargain: reward, competency, and loyalty and responsibility. The book points to diverse and differentiated developments across national systems of executive government, and suggests how different ‘bargains’ are prone to cheating by their constituent parties. It explores the context in which managerial bargains — widely seen to be at the heart of contemporary administrative reform movements — are likely to catch on and considers how cheating is likely to destabilize such bargains.