The representation of women in cabinets and legislatures has increased sharply since the 1990s, although it still falls far short of parity with men. What explains the recent shift? In the current issue of Governance, Suraj Jacob, John Scherpereel and Melinda Adams argued that international norms have played an important role. Their study relies on an original global database of cabinet ministers from 1979 to 2009. “A gender-balanced decision-making norm has become embedded in the world polity,” they argue. But the norm still has limits: it is “more likely to generate gains in low-prestige cabinet positions than in high-prestige positions.” Read the article.
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.
Many government policies work only if citizens or corporations comply with their requirements. But what determines whether citizens or corporations will comply? In the current issue of Governance, R. Kent Weaver proposes a better framework for understanding compliance problems, and highlights the difficulties that arise when there is substantial variety within target populations. Weaver applies the framework to Swedish and American case studies that highlight “how variations in barriers and target characteristics affect government responses to perceived policy failures.” Read the article.
The Structure and Organization of Government Project (SOG‐PRO) is a collaborative research programme that is recently jointly funded by the national scientific research foundations of the Netherlands (NWO), France (ANR), Germany (DFG), and the United Kingdom (ESRC) under the Open Research Area Plus programme. SOG‐PRO aspires to develop and search for innovative ways to describe and understand the organizational dynamics at the level of central government. The project starts on 1 September 2014 and will run for three years. To this end the research teams are looking for highly qualified and motivated researchers at the postdoc and PhD levels. The candidates should have a background in the social sciences, preferably public administration, political science or sociology. The quantitative and qualitative aspects of the research project are equally important, so proficiency in mixed method approaches is highly preferred. Learn more about the available positions.
The IPSA Research Committee on the Structure and Organization of Government (SOG) invites paper proposals for a conference to be held at the University of Bergen, Norway, on February 19-20, 2015. The conference theme is Accountability and Welfare State Reforms. The deadline for submission of abstracts is September 15, 2014. Obtain more details about the call for papers here.
By Thomas Risse, Freie Universität Berlin. Next to India, the elections for the European Parliament (EP) have been the second-largest democratic voting on the globe, with about 400 million citizens in 28 countries eligible to pick 751 members of parliament. The elections took place against the background of the Euro crisis threatening the core of European integration; austerity policies, the worst recession in decades and widespread (youth) unemployment in Southern Europe; and the crisis in the Ukraine and the Russian annexation of the Crimea.
As a result, many pundits predicted the rise of Euro-skeptical parties on the left and the right. Yet and contrary to what one reads in the media, the most important outcomes of the EP elections have little to do with Euro-skepticism. To begin with, voter turnout for the EP elections stabilized on the low level of 2009 with 43% (interestingly, German voters – by far the largest group of voters in Europe – reversed the trend and turned out in larger numbers than in 2009). In most countries and as always, the elections were not so much about Europe and the EU, but about national politics. Read the rest of this entry »
By Alexander Katsaitis, University College London. Despite “shocks” & “earthquakes” that took place at the national level, in particular in France and the UK where the far-right humiliated both the centre-right and socialists; this was not the case at the EU level. The European Parliament (EP) remains by at least 2/3 pro-EU with the leaders of the four major PGs agreeing on the importance of a stable parliament. These groups must now form alliances, select the next Commission President and develop a strategy to regain the electorate from the far-right.
The results have been less surprising than anticipated. Get detailed election results from the European Parliament here. Coming in first with 28% of the votes the centre-right Europe’s Peoples’ Party (EPP) is down almost 60 seats (approx. -7%), while all other major parties S&D (25%), ALDE (8.5%) and Greens (7%) have pretty much remained stable with small gains or losses. Eurosceptic parties have made advances but not to the extent initially projected. Read the rest of this entry »