The GOVERNANCE blog

Governance: An international journal of policy, administration and institutions

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

Why governments adopt strong transparency laws

When are governments likely to adopt strong transparency laws?  Greg Michener says that too much of the existing research has tried to answer that question by looking only at countries with single-party or small-coalition governments.  In those cases, political leaders often have strong reasons for resisting openness.  The dynamic is different when the number of parties controlling government rises.  In broad multiparty coalitions, transparency laws can be used as tools for monitoring coalition partners.  Michener uses Brazil’s experience with freedom of information law to illustrate his argument.  “The leaders of large coalitions,” Michener concludes, “may find FOI particularly appealing because it avoids the high political costs of ‘shadowing ministers’ or traceable leaks.  It delegates diffuse monitoring responsibilities to citizens.”  Free access to the article.

Written by governancejournal

February 15, 2015 at 7:50 am

Posted in Current issue

Buying offices in the Eurasian state

How does the state actually work in post-Soviet Eurasia?  Put aside the notion that these countries are moving toward modern liberal democratic statehood, Johan Engvall of Uppsala University argues in the current issue of Governance.  What is evolving, instead, is the state as a kind of investment market, in which would-be officials invest in offices to obtain access to streams of income associated with those offices.  Drawing on fieldwork in Kyrgyzstan between 2006 and 2013, Engvall explains how the system works.  “Office-holding,” he says, “resembles a rather uncertain franchise-like agreement.”  Free access to the article.

Written by governancejournal

February 6, 2015 at 7:14 am

Posted in Current issue

Twisted tango: Corruption and impunity in Argentina

AGuillan pictureBlog comment by Aránzazu Guillán Montero

During the first weeks of 2015, the suspicious death of a federal prosecutor put Argentina in the global spotlight, highlighting once again the need for strong, accountable democratic institutions. Alberto Nisman was found dead in his apartment on January 18. He had been investigating the 1994 bombing of Argentina’s Jewish mutual aid society (where 85 people were killed and 300 injured). He died hours before a congressional inquiry into his criminal complaint that President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her Ministry of Foreign Affairs had tried to obstruct the investigation by signing a secret agreement with Iran to absolve suspects in return for economic advantages. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by governancejournal

January 31, 2015 at 2:17 pm

Posted in Blog comments

How to reinvent government in Latin America and the Caribbean

“Criticism of the capacity of the state to deliver quality services has become widespread, generating cynicism and undermining trust in government,” says Carlos Santiso of the Inter-American Development Bank.  In a commentary for Governance, Santiso identifies the three key steps toward improving government performance in Latin America and the Caribbean: creating “agile centers of government”; fostering a “technically competent and fiscally sustainable civil service”; and using new technologies to promote transparency.  Free access to the commentary.

Written by governancejournal

January 30, 2015 at 7:13 am

Posted in commentary

Call for papers: Quality of governance in China

 

The School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University will host a conference on governance in China on October 16-17, 2015.  The meeting “seeks to explain China’s recent decades of development by exploring its changing institutional structures and its ability to accommodate multiple and sometimes conflicting demands in a period of rapid transition.”  The conference is co-sponsored by GovernanceRead the call for papers.

Written by governancejournal

January 28, 2015 at 9:35 am

Posted in Conferences

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