Governance: An international journal of policy, administration and institutions

Book reviews: The politics of fiscal squeeze, and compliance with EU policies

In the current issue of Governance, Richard Allen reviews When The Party’s Over: The Politics of Fiscal Squeeze in Perspective, edited by David Heald, Rozana Himaz, and Christopher Hood.  Fiscal squeeze is “the amount of political effort that is put into” retrenchment.  The book challenges “the commonly-held assumption that the financial crash of 2008 and the dramatic policy changes that followed were unique.”  Read the review.

Juliana Piecha reviews The Impact of European Employment Strategy in Greece and Portugal by Sotirios Zartaloudis.  The book provides a “detailed study of the transmission of EU guidelines into national policy.”  In Portugal, EU policies provided a window of opportunity for domestic players to advance their agenda.  But in Greece, domestic actors regarded EU policy as “too alien” and responded only when compliance became a condition of financial support.  Read the review.

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June 22, 2015 at 7:30 am

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SOG/Governance in Istanbul, Shanghai

SOG is the IPSA Research Committee on the Structure and Organization of Government (RC27), and the academic sponsor of Governance.  SOG is organizing a set of panels for next year’s IPSA conference in Istanbul, on 23-28 July 2016.  Please email your panel proposals, including a panel title and brief abstract (250 words), before 12 July 2015 to ; and

Governance will also partner with the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at Fudan University, and other institutions, to organize a symposium on governance in China in October 2015.  The symposium will be held in Shanghai on October 16-17.  More details here.

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June 15, 2015 at 7:31 am

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Perestroika at the IMF on fiscal stimulus

For thirty years before the global financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund upheld the view that fiscal policy was an ineffective tool for economic management. But the IMF changed its tune after 2008, sometimes challenging governments that were bent on austerity. In the current issue of Governance, Cornel Ban goes into the IMF’s “engine room” to explain how this change happened. The groundwork was laid because of growing rift among researchers about the significance of fiscal policy. But a critical factor was the appointment of a new managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, in 2007, followed by a series of key personnel changes within the Fund. The result was “a virtual perestroika in the Fund’s fiscal policy doctrine.”  Read the article.

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June 8, 2015 at 3:28 pm

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Business as usual: IMF protection of foreign creditors

The global financial crisis might have changed other aspects of IMF policy, but when it comes to the treatment of foreign and domestic creditors, it is business as usual. In the current issue ofGovernance, Aitor Erce of the Bank of Spain argues that after the crisis, the IMF insisted that member states honor their commitments to foreign creditors, while being less rigorous about government commitments to domestic creditors and suppliers.  “The Fund,” says Erce, “continues to privilege foreign creditors at the expense of domestic creditors.”  Moreover the Fund does not fully understand how its policy aggravates the risk of economic dislocation and continued recession. Read the article.

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June 8, 2015 at 7:29 am

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How democracy strengthens the state


The established view in political science is state first, and then democracy. . . . [But] the very introduction of democratic politics may contribute to the further development and strengthening of the state.
Giovanni Carbone and Vincenzo Memoli, Governance, January 2015

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May 25, 2015 at 7:07 pm

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Enough hand-wringing! Steps to bridge the academic-practitioner divide


By Donald Moynihan.  In recent contributions to GovernanceStephen Del Rosso and Richard French raise the alarm about the gap between the academics and policymakers. These are two different worlds, and its natural some gap exists, but it may not be quite the “canyon” suggested, and there are some practical steps we can take to bridge the gap.

First, Del Rosso and French’s concerns center on political science. While I will defer to other political scientists who wish to rebut their argument, its sufficient to note that political science is not the only field relevant to governance, and other fields, such as economics and public policy, do play a role in policymaking. Del Rosso ties the fall of political science on an “obsession with method.” I don’t think this is quite right. Better methods generally buy us better causal insights, and presumably policymakers care about this. Few doubt the influence of economists, who have been at the vanguard of methodological innovation.

Read the rest of this entry »

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May 25, 2015 at 7:56 am

Posted in Blog comments

Book reviews: Easterly on experts, quality of government, economic crisis and protest

In the current issue of Governance, Tony Barclay of Columbia University reviews The Tyranny of Experts by William EasterlyEasterly describes “an unholy alliance between like-minded ‘experts’ and autocratic rulers,” Barclay says.  But the argument is marred by “sweeping and shallow generalizations” and “crude, monochromatic stereotypes.”  Read the review.

Chengzhi Yi of the East China University of Political Science and Law reviews The Quality of Government by Bo Rothstein.    The book is “important and enlightening,” although the conceptualization of “quality of government” is “problematic and confusing.”  Read the review.

And Sina Odugbemi of the World Bank reviews The End of Protest: How Free-Market Capitalism Learned to Control Dissent by Alasdair Roberts.  “It is a profoundly depressing text,” says Odugbemi.  “It is also a good read, bracing and forthright.”  Read the review.

Written by Governance

May 18, 2015 at 7:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


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