In the current issue of Governance, Allen Schick reviews The International Handbook of Public Financial Management, edited by Richard Allen, Richard Hemming, and Barry Potter. “The handbook is forthright in describing the many reforms that have energized PFM practices in recent decades,” Schick says. But “By their disregard of politics, almost all of the Handbook‘s dream team of authors purges PFM of political content and influence.” Read the review.
And Alvin Camba reviews Participatory Governance in the EU, by Karl-Oskar Lindgren and Thomas Persson. The book uses a case study of chemical regulation to determine whether civil society participation enhances the formation of a democratic EU. There are difficulties with argumentation and evidence, Camba says. Still, “this is a fresh and timely contribution to the governance literature.” Read the review.
Just joking. In the current issue of Governance, Robert Rotberg argues against the idea that we can gauge the quality of governance without looking at actual effectiveness in service delivery. Read the research note. And Craig Boardman agrees, showing how it is possible to assess policy outcomes in “national mission areas.” Read the research note.
“One of the most common mistakes” in policymaking “revolves around using the popularity of a policy as an indirect measure of its worth,” Moshe Maor says in the current issue of Governance. This can encourage herd behavior and the growth of “policy bubbles” — a policy overreaction that builds over time, until it eventually bursts. Maor develops the concept and explains how it challenges ideas about the rationality of policymaking. Read the article. Maor also discusses his article in a recent post on London School of Economics’ British Politics and Policy blog.
A call for nominations for the 2015 Levine Prize has now been made. Details about the Prize, the 2015 call for nominations, and previous winners of the prize, are available on this page.
Detention center, Christmas Island
In many countries, there is widespread public pressure for tighter immigration controls. But key constituencies also want more liberal rules for certain kinds of immigrants, like skilled workers. In the current issue of Governance, Chris Wright examines how Australia’s government manages this conflict. It uses “control signals to draw attention to their successful efforts at controlling unwanted forms of immigration,” Wright says. “This proved to be a critical factor in its later success in permitting entry to large numbers of skilled workers.” Read the article.
Book reviews: Environmental policy, corruption, and the World Bank’s attempt to understand political economy
Peter Larmour of Australian National University reviews Different Paths to Curbing Corruption, edited by Jon S.T. Quah. This set of five country case studies “complements and extends current econometric approaches to understanding corruption and relates it to broader macrohistorical themes in development.” Read the review.
Thomas Carothers and Diane de Gramont of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace review Problem-Driven Political Economy Analysis: The World Bank’s Experience, edited by Verena Fritz, Brian Levy, and Rachel Ort. The book is a “far-reaching, informative examination” of the World Bank’s attempt to improve its analysis of the political feasibility of proposed programs. All of the case studies “bring up a central problem: clientelism.” And the book emphasizes the need for more attention to “politically responsive policy design.” Read the review.
Walter Eucken, a founder of ordoliberalism
The ideas of ordoliberalism, first developed in Germany in the mid-twentieth century, have had a marked revival since the Global Financial Crisis, write Mathias Siems and Gerhard Schnyder in the current issue of Governance. Commentators from both left and right say that more regulation on ordoliberal principles is needed. But there is confusion about what ordoliberalism really requires. Siems and Schnyder clarify the core ideas and show how ordoliberalism can “form the basis for a sounder conception of economic regulation” in the wake of the crisis. Read the article.