The GOVERNANCE blog

Governance: An international journal of policy, administration and institutions

Delivering essential services: Does the state matter?

Last October, Governance published a special issue on state-building in areas of limited statehood.  In their contribution, Melissa Lee, Gregor Walter-Drop, and John Wiesel questioned conventional wisdom that the state plays a central role in explaining variation in provision of essential services.  Examining data from more than 150 countries, they found “remarkably little evidence of a consistent relationship between statehood and service delivery.”  Read the article.

In a note on Governance Early View, B. Guy Peters and Jon Pierre commend the article for tackling a “fundamental research question in political science” but argue that the variables used in the study are “inadequate measures of the contemporary state and that the conclusions drawn in this article are therefore misleading.”  Peters and Pierre provide a brief overview of difficulties in measuring the state and its activities. Free access to their response to the article.

Melissa Lee and Gregor Walter-Drop defend their approach to the measurement of statehood.  This approach “avoids a developed country bias.”  Moreover, “Our goal was to challenge the bias of conventional governance research that conflates statehood and service delivery.”  The evidence suggests that the “core functions of the state” may not be as necessary for service provision as commonly assumed.  Free access to their reply.

Written by governancejournal

March 23, 2015 at 7:50 am

Posted in Discussion

How “intellectual ostriches” hurt political science

In his commentary for the April issue of Governance, Stephen Del Rosso says that political scientists need to do a better job of bringing their work to the attention of policymakers — and to do that, they have to balance rigor with readability.  “There is no shortage of important scholarly work that goes unnoticed or unread because of its presentation,” says Del Rosso, Director of the Carnegie Corporation’s International Peace and Security Program.  “The future of the political science field is too important to be left to the intellectual ostriches who bury their heads in self-referential esoterica.”  Free access to the commentary.

Matthew Flinders  of the University of Sheffield also noted the discipline’s difficulties in a January 2014 commentary.  “Political science has generally failed to fulfill its broader social responsibilities . . . It is — at least in some limited ways — to blame for ‘why we hate politics.'” Read the commentary.

Written by governancejournal

March 16, 2015 at 7:49 am

Posted in commentary

Call for nominations: 2015 Levine Prize

Written by governancejournal

March 14, 2015 at 9:04 am

Posted in Levine Book Prize

Privileged pluralism: How major interests keep power

In the current issue of Governance, Anne Skorkjaer Binderkrantz, Peter Munk Christiansen, and Helene Helboe Pedersen examine the dynamics of interest group activity in Denmark, based a unique large data set.  They reject the simple notion that the availability of multiple arenas assures diversity in interest group representation.  The evidence shows that “when it comes to the major players, cumulative effects are evident; that is the same groups dominate across all arenas.”  They call this system of “privileged pluralism.” Free access to the article.

Written by governancejournal

March 10, 2015 at 7:50 pm

Posted in Current issue

VHB gives Governance top quality ranking

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 6.44.05 PMVHB, the German Association of Management Scholars, has selected Governance as one of three journals to receive its top ranking for quality in 2015.  See the rankings.

Written by governancejournal

March 10, 2015 at 5:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

A new approach for understanding institutional change

In the current issue of Governance, Jane Gingrich examines a paradox.  A large scholarly literature says that change is difficult in the public sector.  But the public sector has in fact changed substantially over the last two decades.  Better theory is needed to explain when and how institutional change happens.  Gringrich identifies three different types of costs to change, and explains how different combinations of these costs can lead to different patterns of policy change.  Gingrich uses British and American experience in healthcare and welfare reform to illustrate her argument. Free access to the article.

Written by governancejournal

February 24, 2015 at 7:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Book reviews: Corruption in India, China’s hunt for resources, public participation in the EU

In the current issue of Governance, Sean Yiath reviews The Hungry Dragon: How China’s Resources Quest is Reshaping the World, by Sigfrido Burgos Cáceres and Sophal Ear.    The book “exposes the leverage China holds over source countries and reveals the cleavages in domestic and international relations among the key players.”  Free access to the review.

Alvin Almendrala Camba reviews Participatory Governance in the European Union by Karl-Oskar Lindgren and Thomas Persson.  “Despite its limitations, this is a fresh and timely contribution to the governance literature.”  Free access to the review.

And Nafis Hasan of Azim Premji University reviews Corruption and Reform in India by Jennifer Bussell.   The book is a “bold attempt to identify the reasons for the difference in quality” of computerized service centers that were supposed to reduce corruption in Indian state governments.  Free access to the review.

Written by governancejournal

February 16, 2015 at 7:15 am

Posted in book reviews

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