International trusteeships — that is, United Nations-sanctioned efforts to directly exercise power in areas where states have failed — rarely accomplish their intended results. In the current issue of Governance, David Lake and Christopher Fariss explain why. They examine the impact of imposed peacekeeping missions authorized by the United Nations since 1991 and find that these missions frequently fail to produce states with greater capacity. Moreover international trusteeship has “no discernable effect” on the provision of critical public services. These interventions fail for two reasons: lack of support from local elites, and lack of long-term commitment on the part of interveners. Read the article.
The Washington Post‘s Monkey Cage blog features a discussion of the current issue of Governance. Stephen Krasner and Thomas Risse explain that this special issue challenges the conventional wisdom that connects “failed states with utter governance breakdown.” More common are “areas of limited statehood,” in which key services may still be provided under certain circumstances. Krasner and Risse explain that the special issue identifies the three key factors that will determine when service provision is likely to succeed. Read the article on Monkey Cage.
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.