In the current issue of Governance, J.W. Christian Schuster reviews Jobs for the Boys: Patronage and the State in Comparative Perspective by Merilee S. Grindle. It is “a fascinating read,” Schuster says, “refuting key assumptions of prior scholarly work and development practice.” Read the review.
Matt Andrews reviews Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics by Morton Jerven. Jerven “tells a lively story” that shows how “the numbers we so readily rely on are more questionable than we would like to admit.” Read the review.
Michael Johnston reviews Shadow Elite by Janine Wedel. Wedel explores the world of “flexians . . . the diverse and elusive network of professionals, activists, analysts, consultants and wheeler dealers” whose decisions affect millions of lives. Read the review.
Boris Hauray reviews Scientists and the Regulation of Risk by David Demortain. Demortain’s thesis, Hauray says, is that “invisible colleges” of interconnected transnational scientists pay a critical role in establishing standards of risk regulation in domains such as medicine and food safety. Read the review.
It is widely agreed that more attention should be paid to the influence of non-economic factors such as institutions on development. But good data on institutions can be hard to find. In the current issue of Governance, John Manuel Luiz, Luis Brites Pereira, and Guilherme Olivera explain how they developed indicators of political and property rights in one country — Mozambique — spanning the past century. They plan to develop comparable indicators for all Southern African countries, providing a better foundation for “exploring the dynamics of economic growth and development over time.” Read the research note.
In the current issue of Governance, Ringa Raudla of the Tallinn University of Technology examines the problems that can emerge when governments outsource the task of providing policy and management advice. Raudla examines the use of consultants during Estonia’s recent experiments in budget reform. The decision to rely on contractors was encouraged by the availability of European Union structural funds. Estonian experience, Raudla concludes, shows how “contractualization of policymaking . . . can lead to inconsistent reform plans, hinder genuine deliberation on the content of reform, and undermine its democratic legitimacy.” Read the article.
Governance, in partnership with the Jindal School of Government and Public Policy and the Walker Institute at the University of South Carolina, invites authors to submit research papers relating to current challenges in governance in India.
Five papers will be selected for contemporaneous publication in a special issue of Governance and in the Jindal Journal of Public Policy. Authors of these papers will participate in a symposium to be held at the Jindal School in Delhi on October 6-7, 2014, with travel expenses paid by conference organizers. More details here.
“I wanted to love this book,” Michael Woolcock of Harvard University says, “and ended up merely liking it.” The book in question is A Tale of Two Cultures: Qualitative and Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences, by Gary Goertz and James Mahoney. The authors “strive to articulate a metaframework that identifies how qualitative and quantitative approaches can peacefully coexist,” Woolcock says. But the project is compromised by the book’s inattention to forms of qualitative research used by many scholars. Still, Woolcock lauds A Tale of Two Cultures as “an important landmark contribution to social science research.” Read the review.