In the current issue of Governance, Allen Schick reviews The International Handbook of Public Financial Management, edited by Richard Allen, Richard Hemming, and Barry Potter. “The handbook is forthright in describing the many reforms that have energized PFM practices in recent decades,” Schick says. But “By their disregard of politics, almost all of the Handbook‘s dream team of authors purges PFM of political content and influence.” Read the review.
And Alvin Camba reviews Participatory Governance in the EU, by Karl-Oskar Lindgren and Thomas Persson. The book uses a case study of chemical regulation to determine whether civil society participation enhances the formation of a democratic EU. There are difficulties with argumentation and evidence, Camba says. Still, “this is a fresh and timely contribution to the governance literature.” Read the review.
A forthcoming special issue of Governance (28.2, April 2015) will consider how the 2008 financial crisis has changed policy and practice within the International Monetary Fund. The special issue is co-edited by professors Cornel Ban and Kevin Gallagher of the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University.
Ban and Gallagher explain the aims of the special issue:
Recently, the IMF has been in the headlines as a critic of austerity, inequality and unrestricted capital movements. This is in stark contrast to its conventional pre-crisis image as rigid international bully imposing draconian policies on countries in trouble.
In the special issue of Governance, the contributors examine how extensive these changes have been in both theory and in practice and provide explanations of the resulting patterns of stability and change. They find extensive evidence that the Fund has indeed experienced a significant recalibration of its policy advice and supervision since the 2008 crisis and attribute this outcome to staff politics, the rise of the BRICS’s or shifts in the economics profession.
However, not all changes in policy doctrine traveled into the IMF’s policy practice. Moreover, deeper shifts in policy doctrine were largely tempered by the nature of the institution and the powerful interests that control its governing structure. To make these arguments, the contributions examine fiscal policy, sovereign debt policy, structural reforms, capital controls and financial sector stability.
All of the papers in the special issue are now published on Governance EarlyView:
Kevin P. Gallagher, Contesting the Governance of Capital Flows at the IMF
Leonard Seabrooke and Emelie Rebecca Nilsson, Professional Skills in International Financial Surveillance: Assessing Change in IMF Policy Teams
Professors Ban and Gallagher will host a lunch discussion about the special issue on November 20, 2014, 12:30-2:00pm, at The Pardee School for Global Studies, Bay State Rd. 121, Boston. More details here. Boston University also profiles the special issue here.
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.