Archive for the ‘Current issue’ Category
From 1981 to 2004, more than thirty countries modified their government-run pension systems to include individual, private savings accounts. But pension privatization stopped abruptly in 2005. What happened? In the current issue of Governance, Mitchell Orenstein of Northeastern University argues that ideational as well as fiscal factors caused a temporary halt to the privatization trend. “The tables turned in 2005,” Orenstein says, “with the rise of anti-privatization critiques within the World Bank and the high-profile rejection of pension privatization in the United States.” Read the article.
In a recent article in Governance, Paulette Kurzer examined the politics of disability reform in the Netherlands. Last week, Jan-Maarten van Sonsbeek and Raymond Gradus provided a comment on the Governance blog about Kurzer’s argument. Here, Kurzer replies.
Dr. Jan-Maarten van Sonsbeek and Professor Raymond Gradus recently raised some questions about my argument presented in my Governance article, Disability reform in the Netherlands. They claim that the reason for the successful passing of the substantial reforms of the disability insurance fund is primarily due to the structure and details of the new law. The new legislation clearly differentiated between the severely disabled and other forms of disability and built upon years of smaller tweaks and reforms. They believe that the 2006 reforms did not provoke an electoral backlash or voter resistance because of its smart design. They would argue that the reforms incorporated a logic that convinced the social partners and voters to go along with the new legislation. Read the rest of this entry »
2013 marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Peter Hall‘s classic article “Paradigms, Social Learning, and the State.” To mark the anniversary, the current issue of Governance features a set of articles that examine how paradigms shape policy making. The articles were prepared for a symposium held at Suffolk University in Boston in December 2011.
In their introduction to the special issue, Robert H. Cox of the University of South Carolina and Daniel Béland of the University of Saskatchewan explain the importance of Hall’s 1993 article and provide an overview of the contributions to this special issue.
“The study of policy paradigms,” they conclude, “offers a fundamental challenge to explanations of politics that seek motivations in rational calculations or the material interests of decision makers.” Read the introduction.
In the current issue of Governance, Thomas Remington of Emory University reviews State Building in Putin’s Russia by Brian D. Taylor of Syracuse University. Taylor “offers a valuable overview of the impact of President Putin in his first two terms,” Remington says. Free access to the review.Milosz Miszczynski of Jagiellonian University reviews Local Economies and Global Competitiveness, edited by Bruno Dallago and Chiara Gugliemetti. The volume, a collaborate project by thirty-three economists, examines “different dimensions of local economic development around the world,” Miszczynski says. “The academic level of all the contributions is very high.” Free access to the review.
Richard French reviews Governing Fables: Learning from Public Sector Narratives by Sandford Borins of the University of Toronto. “Not your father’s public management book,” French concludes. “It is instead a highly original and absorbing analysis of the images of public management, policy, and politics constructed by the popular entertainment media.” Free access to the review.
Elaine Wee-Ling Ooi of the World Bank reviews Pandemics and Peace by William J. Long of Georgia State University: “The resurgence of deadly infectious diseases in our increasingly connected world requires an integrated and global approach to preventing their spread. This is a timely book and an important contribution to examining the forces that shape international cooperation in health.” Free access to the review.
Both Norway and France have been “afflicted with reorganization fever,” Philippe Bezes, Anne Lise Fimreite, Patrick Le Lidec and Per Laegreid argue in the current issue of Governance. But the two countries pursued different kinds of organizational redesign projects: “French reforms have recently become more radical and comprehensive, while the Norwegian reforms are more hesitant.” The authors show the limitations of simplistic arguments about the influence of international trends, such as NPM or post-NPM models. Reform paths are the product of “specific combinations” of political strategies, external pressures and institutional constraints in each country. Free access to the article.
The idea that a strong civil society helps to fight corruption has become a cornerstone of of governance policy. But is it true? In the current issue of Governance, Nuno Themudo of the University of Pittsburgh looks more closely at the conditions that make it possible for civil society to resist corruption. Themudo argues that press freedom “is critical in civil society efforts to generate pressure against corrupt officials. . . . Civil society strength has no significant impact on corruption in countries with less press freedom.” He finds “robust empirical support” for this claim. Free access to the article.
Like many other countries seeking to promote clean growth, China is experimenting with wind power. But in 2008, one fifth of the country’s installed wind power capacity did not generate any electricity. This is one illustration of how Chinese policy deviates from best practice regarding the development of grid-connected renewable energy (GCRE). In the current issue of Governance, Clara García of Universidad Complutense de Madrid provides a novel synthesis of the evolving best practice regarding policy and institutions to support GCRE. Then Garcia describes the many ways in which China diverges from that model. It’s not surprising, Garcia says, that China has taken a distinctive path in this area. More work is needed to establish the connection “between China’s particularities in GCRE and its actual record in deploying renewables.” Free access to the article.
and Weina Dai
In the last thirty years, China has implemented a system of village self-government that policymakers and many scholars say has brought significant improvements in women’s political status. In the current issue of Governance, Zhengxu Wang of the University of Nottingham and Weina Dai of Renmin University examine women’s participation in village self-governance in Rudong county in Eastern China.
They find that women vote in village elections but that their representation in self-governance bodies remains low, while their sense of empowerment remains limited. “Rudong’s story is highly representative of other areas of China,” the authors say. “A wide range of institutional, socioeconomic, structural and cultural factors still prevent a more equal representation of women.” Wang and Dai discuss policy responses that would promote “a stronger presence of women in local governance.” Free access to the article.
The death of corporatist policymaking — in which governments negotiate reforms with trade unions and employers — is greatly exaggerated in Western Europe, say Alexandre Afonso of the Max Planck Institute and Yannis Papadopolous of the University of Lausanne. In the current issue of Governance, Afonso and Papadopolous explain the persistence of the corporatist model in Austria and Switzerland. They reject the notion that European integration has given the critical boost to corporatism. The better explanation is found in the structure of national politics. Corporatist policymaking is a tactic for building support for difficult reforms that is relied upon by governments lacking strong legislative majorities. “The configuration of party coalitions,” Afonso and Papadopolous conclude, is “the main causal trigger of corporatist strategies of policymaking.” FREE ACCESS to this article.
Public agencies care about their reputations. In the current issue of Governance, Moshe Maor and Raanan Sulitzeanu-Kenan of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem explore how “the vague concept of reputation may translate into concrete regulatory outcomes.” They examine the behavior of two enforcement divisions within the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As media coverage of the FDA becomes more positive, the agency takes longer to execute enforcement actions. Negative coverage leads to quicker action. This is only true, though, when press coverage is relatively intense. “Reputational concerns,” conclude Moar and Sulitzeanu-Kenan, “produce institutional outcomes over and above the content of rules, guidance, procedures, structures or statutes.” FREE ACCESS to this article.