International trusteeships — that is, United Nations-sanctioned efforts to directly exercise power in areas where states have failed — rarely accomplish their intended results. In the current issue of Governance, David Lake and Christopher Fariss explain why. They examine the impact of imposed peacekeeping missions authorized by the United Nations since 1991 and find that these missions frequently fail to produce states with greater capacity. Moreover international trusteeship has “no discernable effect” on the provision of critical public services. These interventions fail for two reasons: lack of support from local elites, and lack of long-term commitment on the part of interveners. Read the article.
The Washington Post‘s Monkey Cage blog features a discussion of the current issue of Governance. Stephen Krasner and Thomas Risse explain that this special issue challenges the conventional wisdom that connects “failed states with utter governance breakdown.” More common are “areas of limited statehood,” in which key services may still be provided under certain circumstances. Krasner and Risse explain that the special issue identifies the three key factors that will determine when service provision is likely to succeed. Read the article on Monkey Cage.
Just joking. In the current issue of Governance, Robert Rotberg argues against the idea that we can gauge the quality of governance without looking at actual effectiveness in service delivery. Read the research note. And Craig Boardman agrees, showing how it is possible to assess policy outcomes in “national mission areas.” Read the research note.
“One of the most common mistakes” in policymaking “revolves around using the popularity of a policy as an indirect measure of its worth,” Moshe Maor says in the current issue of Governance. This can encourage herd behavior and the growth of “policy bubbles” — a policy overreaction that builds over time, until it eventually bursts. Maor develops the concept and explains how it challenges ideas about the rationality of policymaking. Read the article. Maor also discusses his article in a recent post on London School of Economics’ British Politics and Policy blog.
A call for nominations for the 2015 Levine Prize has now been made. Details about the Prize, the 2015 call for nominations, and previous winners of the prize, are available on this page.