Archive for the ‘book reviews’ Category
Book reviews: Environmental policy, corruption, and the World Bank’s attempt to understand political economy
Peter Larmour of Australian National University reviews Different Paths to Curbing Corruption, edited by Jon S.T. Quah. This set of five country case studies “complements and extends current econometric approaches to understanding corruption and relates it to broader macrohistorical themes in development.” Read the review.
Thomas Carothers and Diane de Gramont of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace review Problem-Driven Political Economy Analysis: The World Bank’s Experience, edited by Verena Fritz, Brian Levy, and Rachel Ort. The book is a “far-reaching, informative examination” of the World Bank’s attempt to improve its analysis of the political feasibility of proposed programs. All of the case studies “bring up a central problem: clientelism.” And the book emphasizes the need for more attention to “politically responsive policy design.” Read the review.
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.
In the current issue of Governance, Shruti Majumdar reviews Red Tape: Bureaucracy, Structural Violence, and Poverty and India, by Akhil Gupta. Majumdar says that the book “paints a vivid picture of a Weberian nightmare — a state whose everyday functioning is shot through with neither rationalization nor administrative logic, rather with contingency, guesswork, and ‘barely controlled chaos.'” Free access to the review.
And Clare Lockhart reviews Why Peace Fails: The Causes and Prevention of Civil War Recurrence by Charles T. Coll. The book’s “major contribution,” Lockhart says, “is to focus attention on the critical policy issue of why peace agreements break down and on the central importance of political dynamics following the apparent achievement of peace.” Free access to the review.
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.
“One of the few positive consequences of the global financial crisis,” Randall Germain writes in the current issue of Governance, “has been a broad upsurge in interest in the broad problem of financial governance at the global level. Germain reviews Governing Global Finance by Anthony Elson. Elson successfully outlines the technical challenges of global financial governance, German says, but needs “to engage more fully with the political dynamics at work” in this area. Read the review.
Kai Chen reviews The Security Governance of Regional Organizations, edited by Emil Joseph Kirchner and Roberto Domínguez. The book provides a comparative study of ten regional security organizations and is a “valuable contribution to the study of security governance,” Chen concludes. Read the review.
In the current issue of Governance, Phillippe Ratte of the Fondation Prospective et Innovation in Paris reviews China’s Regulatory State: A New Strategy for Globalization by Roselyn Hsueh of Temple University. “China only appears to be a more liberal state,” Hsueh argues. The introduction of market principles has been accompanied by creation of new forms of control to protect state interests. “This book is a major contribution both to understanding China’s growth better, and to opening up a new way of thinking about development,” Ratte concludes. Free access to the review.
In the current issue of Governance, Rachel Cichowski of the University of Washington reviews Eurolegalism: The Transformation of Law and Regulation in the European Union by Daniel Kelemen. “A fascinating read,” says Cichowski, which examines “the move toward a more adversarial legalistic mode of governance” across Europe. Read the review. And Michael Tatham of Humboldt University reviews Intergovernmental Cooperation: Rational Choices in Federal Systems and Beyond by Nicole Bolleyer. Tatham says that the book “fills an important research gap . . . [with] an unusual mixture of detailed case study analyses and rigorous conceptual work.” Read the review.