Governance: An international journal of policy, administration and institutions

Archive for the ‘commentary’ Category

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

The challenge for Indonesia’s new president

Joko Widodo

Joko Widodo

In a commentary for the next issue of Governance, Marcus Mietzner of Australian National University looks at the results of last month’s election in Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country.  Enthusiasm over the election of Joko Widodo “is already giving way to a growing realization of the protracted problems” confronting the country, Mietzner says.  These include “the fight against corruption, economic reform, infrastructure development, and reduction of wasteful subsidies.”  Free access to the commentary.

Also: read earlier online comments on recent elections in India and the European Union by Thomas Risse, Alexander Katsaitis, Krishna Tummala, and Rahul Mukherji.

Written by governancejournal

November 8, 2014 at 7:48 am

Posted in commentary, Elections

The New Zealand model, thirty years later

Finance Minister Roger Douglas announces 1984 Labour budget

Thirty years ago, on July 14, 1984, New Zealand voters elected a Labour government that launched a far-reaching program of public sector reforms.  The “New Zealand model” became famous around the globe.  In the current issue of Governance, Jonathan Boston and Chris Eichbaum of Victoria University examine the long-term effects of the reform program begun in 1984.  Neoliberal reforms triggered electoral changes that made full realization of the neoliberal program impossible.  Today, they write, “there is evidence of not one but two unfinished intellectual projects” — the neoliberal revolution, and the constitutional pushback.  Free access to the commentary.

Written by governancejournal

June 10, 2014 at 5:35 am

Posted in commentary

Work in progress: How should public policy studies change in the Asian Century?

MSoG_Horizontal_3DLogo_A4_RGB[1] copyThis is a working draft of a commentary By Sara Bice and Helen Sullivan of the Melbourne School of Government that will appear in the October issue of Governance.  Leave your comments below or email the authors directly.  The commentary will also be discussed at a roundtable at the Melbourne School of Government on May 20.  More details about the roundtable.

Western approaches defined the 20th century emergence of policy studies as a distinctive scholarly field. In the 21st century, the ‘ascendance of Asia’ will demand critical reflection on how we define public policy, administration and governance; what public policy entails; and how it is managed and implemented. Will Harold Lasswell’s post-war vision of policy studies as a cross-cutting discipline capable of informing the decisions of industrial societies maintain salience? Or do the extraordinary changes wrought by globalisation demand a new orientation for policy studies?

We argue here that the construct, content and conduct of policy studies must respond to the challenges and opportunities of the ‘Asian Century.’ At its core, the ‘Asian Century’ presents a global milieu where economic, cultural, political, environmental and social issues will be heavily influenced by growth and activities in the Asian region. Only through acknowledging and responding to these influences might policy studies equip current and future public managers with the capabilities and skills necessary to create and manage policy successfully. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by governancejournal

April 28, 2014 at 8:25 pm

Posted in commentary

What’s wrong with Washington? Ornstein says it’s tribalism

“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.

Written by governancejournal

February 17, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Posted in commentary

How do you deal with Frankenstates?

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.

Written by governancejournal

February 17, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Posted in commentary

Can political scientists help to close the expectations gap?

Mind The Gap In the spring of 2014, it will have been forty years since Trilateral Commission set up the task force that wrote the influential report, The Crisis of Democracy.  In the new issue of Governance, Matthew Flinders of the University of Sheffield says that report “continues to hit a contemporary chord.”  Politics in the twenty-first century, he argues, is distinguished by “pessimism about the future of democracy.”  Read the commentary.

The underlying problem is the persistent gap between the public’s demand for public services and the capacity of politicians to supply those services.  In the twentieth century, the “default option” of politicians was to close that gap by increasing supply.  Today, that option is “simply not viable.”  The only way of closing the gap will be by reducing unrealistic public expectations.  Political scientists can contribute to this work, Flinders says.  But to do that, they must do a better job of engaging in public debate.  Political science, he argues, “has become increasingly irrelevant within the social and political sphere.”   Watch Matthew Flinders discuss his commentary on YouTube.

Written by governancejournal

December 16, 2013 at 11:12 am


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