Governance: An international journal of policy, administration and institutions

Archive for the ‘book reviews’ Category

Book reviews: The failings of democracy, and public-private partnerships

In the current issue of Governance, Alasdair Roberts reviews Breaking Democracy’s Spell by John Dunn.  Dunn renders “a harsh judgment on Western democracies . . . But there are reasons to think why it might not be fair.”  Read the review.

And Kai Chen of Zhejang University reviews The Routledge Companion to Public-Private Partnerships, edited by Piet de Vries and Etienne Yehoue.  “This compelling and thought-provoking volume is an excellent addition to the literature on public-private partnerships.”  Read the review.

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January 16, 2015 at 9:34 am

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Book review: Controlling tobacco around the globe

In the current issue of Governance, Paulette Kurzer of the University of Arizona reviews Global Tobacco Control: Power, Policy, Governance and Transfer by Paul Cairney, Donley Studlar and Hadii Mamudu.  The book examines two topics, Kurzer says: Why did it take governments so long to recognize the health consequences of smoking?  And why did policy action vary if the problem is the same across the globe?  The book “is a superb examination of an important question . . . [A] first-rate account of tobacco control that will be a standard text for years to come.”  Read the review.

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December 5, 2014 at 7:34 am

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Book reviews: Empowering the poor, conflicts in China

  In the current issue of Governance, Phyllis R. Pomerantz of Duke University reviews Betrayed: Politics, Power and Prosperity by Seth Kaplan.  Kaplan calls this a “handbook for political and economic change in less developed countries.”    It is a well-written and pragmatic volume, says Pomerantz, although marked by a contradiction.  It “is about empowering the poor but looks explicitly to development country elites . . . to make that happen.”  Read the review.And Dechao Sun of Jilin University reviews The Causes, Escalation and Management of Public Conflicts in China by Yao Xu.  The book “contributes to an overall understanding of the various stages of the escalation of public conflicts in China” and provides a “rich accumulation” of case studies that will prove useful to other researchers.  Read the review.

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November 10, 2014 at 6:08 am

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Book reviews: financial management, public participation

In the current issue of Governance, Allen Schick reviews The International Handbook of Public Financial Management, edited by Richard Allen, Richard Hemming, and Barry Potter.  “The handbook is forthright in describing the many reforms that have energized PFM practices in recent decades,” Schick says.  But “By their disregard of politics, almost all of the Handbook‘s dream team of authors purges PFM of political content and influence.” Read the review.

And Alvin Camba reviews Participatory Governance in the EU, by Karl-Oskar Lindgren and Thomas Persson.  The book uses a case study of chemical regulation to determine whether civil society participation enhances the formation of a democratic EU.  There are difficulties with argumentation and evidence, Camba says.  Still, “this is a fresh and timely contribution to the governance literature.”  Read the review.

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November 5, 2014 at 11:15 am

Book reviews: Environmental policy, corruption, and the World Bank’s attempt to understand political economy

  In the current issue of Governance, Leigh Raymond of Purdue University reviews The Bet by Paul Sabin. This “well-written and deeply researched” book uses the personal conflict between biologist Paul Ehrlich and economist Julian Simon “as a lens for explaining developments in environmental politics since the 1960s.”  Read the review.


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.

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August 20, 2014 at 9:08 am

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Book reviews: disaster response, securities regulation, health care

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.

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March 5, 2014 at 2:57 pm

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Book reviews: Red tape in India, and stopping civil war

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.

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February 7, 2014 at 12:34 pm


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