District magistrate at work in Uttar Pradesh, India. WikiMedia
Last year in Governance, Francis Fukuyama argued that there were “big and decisive drawbacks” to the use of output measures in assessing government quality. (Read Fukuyama’s commentary.) Two new research notes in Governance take issue with Fukuyama’s position.
“Measuring performance,” says Robert Rotberg of Harvard University, “can best be done by examining outputs (results), not inputs . . . Such a scheme makes epistemological and parsimonious sense. It is is tidy and transparent. And it works.” Read the research note.
Meanwhile Craig Boardman of Ohio State University says that the rejection of output- or outcome-based measures is premature. “A particular government’s quality can and should be assessed,” Boardman says, “not just in terms of its capacity and autonomy (as Fukuyama suggests), but additionally in terms of the outcomes its society values and expects.” Read the research note.
In the current issue of Governance, Felix Kiruthu of Kenyatta University reviews Building Resilience: Social Capital in Post Disaster Recovery by Daniel Aldrich. “Aldrich’s work,” says Kiruthu, “has profound implications for the role of politicians, bureaucrats, researchers and non-governmental organizations.” Read the review.
Patrick Schmidt reviews Policing the Markets: Inside the Black Box of Securities Enforcement by James Williams. Schmidt says that Williams’ study of Canadian securities regulation “advances the state of the art in the empirical study of regulatory enforcement.” Read the review.
And Albert Weale of University College London reviews Politics, Health, and Health Care by Theodore Marmor and Rudolf Klein. The book collects essays written over forty years “united by a concern to show how ideas, interests and institutions combine to bring about policy outcomes.” Read the review.
The October 2014 issue of Governance (27.4) will feature a series of articles on external actors, state-building, and service provision in areas of limited statehood. All of the articles are now available online. (See links below.)
Thomas Risse of Freie Universität Berlin provides an overview of the special issue: “While virtually all polities enjoy uncontested international legal sovereignty, there are wide variations in domestic sovereignty, i.e., the monopoly over the means of violence and/or the ability of the state to make and implement policies. Most states lack domestic sovereignty and exhibit areas of limited statehood, at least in some parts of the territory or with regard to some policy-areas. Areas of limited statehood are not, however, ungoverned or ungovernable spaces where anarchy and chaos prevail, as this special issue demonstrates. The provision of collective goods and services is possible even under extremely adverse conditions of fragile or failed statehood. Read the rest of this entry »
“If we are not in the most dysfunctional period in our history,” says Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, “we are certainly in the top five.” The problem isn’t just ideological polarization, Orenstein argues in a new commentary for Governance. It’s tribalism — “an approach were if you are for it, I am reflexively against it, even if I was for it yesterday.” Many factors encourage tribalism: skewed redistricting, campaign financing, and the transformation of mainstream media. And the consequences are profound. “Political dysfunction,” Ornstein concludes , threatens “the health, well-being, and future prospects for the country.” Free access to the commentary.
In a commentary published in Governance last October, Kim Lane Scheppele examined the problem of “Frankenstates” — nations that conform to good governance checklists but are still dysfunctional, because of the malignant interaction effects that follow when “perfectly reasonable constitutional components are stitched together.” Scheppele cited Hungary as an example. Read the commentary. In a recent contribution to a European Commission forum on EU justice policies, Scheppele proposes a new approach for dealing with Frankenstates. Drawing on her commentary, Scheppele says that the Commission should broaden its field of vision to evaluate such interaction effects. Read the discussion paper.
A new report from the EU-funded COCOPS research project finds that European academics rank Governance as one of the top three journals in terms of general quality. Three hundred senior academics responded to the survey, completed in 2013. The survey also found that Governance was one of the top three preferred journals for publishing research. Download the report.
The Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration has published a special issue comprised of articles written by Bidhya Boworwathana of Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University. Professor Bowornwathana passed away in August 2013. Governance has also published a note remembering Professor Bowornwathana, who was actively involved in the IPSA Structure and Organization of Government Research Committee, the academic sponsor of Governance. The special issue includes an article originally written for Governance.