It’s widely believed that transparency will improve the perceived legitimacy of governmental decisionmaking. But is that really the case? In the current issue of Governance, four scholars from the University of Gothenberg — Jenny De Fine Licht, Daniel Naurin, Peter Esaiasson, and Mikael Gilljam — use an innovative experimental design to determine how transparency actually affects legitimacy. “The common notion of a straightforward positive correlation between transparency and legitimacy is rather naïve,” the authors argue. “The effect is highly dependent on context and may indeed be negative as well as positive.” Free access to the article.
Also in the current issue, Yeling Tan examines the unexpected ways in which disclosure of environmental information has produced results in China. Read an interview with Yeling Tan on the Governance blog.
Protest in Chile in 2011
Reforms to improve teaching by introducing pay-for-performance schemes usually run into opposition from powerful teacher unions. In the current issue of Governance, Alejandra Mizala and Ben Ross Schneider examine an unusual success story: the introduction of pay incentives for teachers in Chile from 1990 to 2010. The reforms succeeded, Mizala and Schneider conclude, because they were introduced through repeated rounds of negotiations, and also because of the design of the scheme, which introduced collective and then individual incentives for performance. Salary increases also helped to overcome opposition. When students and teachers engaged in large scale demonstrations in 2011, “they called into question nearly all aspects of Chile’s educational system,” the authors say, “but not salary incentives.” Free access to the article.
The IPSA Research Committee on Structure and Organization of Government held its annual conference, hosted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, on January 5-7. The theme was: “what makes administrative agencies tick?” The conference benefited from a very large number of paper submissions, which allowed the organizers to be selective in ensuring high quality and coherent panels. Around forty participants presented their on-going work on interrelated themes such as agency autonomy, the changing dynamics of political control, agency competition and survival, bureaucratic expertise, bureaucratic reputation, blame avoidance and the consequences of management reforms. Delegates were fortunate to have two leading public administration scholars – Daniel Carpenter of Harvard University and Donald Moynihan of the University of Wisconsin-Madison – as keynote speakers. The event took place in a lovely venue, overlooking the walls of the old city of Jerusalem. Altogether, this conference was a unique intellectual and social event. Professors Sharon Gilad and Moshe Maor were principal organizers of the conference.
Wilson and Rockman
At the January meeting of the IPSA Research Committee on Structure and Organization of Government in Jerusalem, Graham Wilson of Boston University and Bert Rockman of Purdue University received the Ulrich Kloeti Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Study of Public Policy, Administration and Institutions. The award is presented annual to scholars who have made exceptional contributions to research in the field throughout their career. The Structure and Organization of Government Research Committee is the academic sponsor of Governance. Wilson and Rockman are both former editors of the journal.
In Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, Arif Asad discusses What is Governance? by Francis Fukuyama, published by Governance in March 2013. Fukuyama’s article emphasizes “the expansion of the autonomy of bureaucracy if good governance is to be achieved,” Asad says. “This is fraught with danger in countries where party-based political systems are weak and where military dictatorship has ruled for a long time.” Read the Dawn article.
In the current issue of Governance, Colin Campbell of the University of British Columbia remembers Bidhya Bowornwathana of Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University, who passed away in August 2013. Bowornwathana was a “deeply committed and much loved member” of the IPSA Structure and Organization of Government Research Committee, which is the academic sponsor of Governance. Campbell says that he also “exemplified dedication to the principle” that scholarly research should be closely connected to the actual practice of governance. Free access to the note.
Some end-of-year statistics from Governance:
- We received 270 original article submissions in 2013, up from 213 in 2012.
- Our acceptance rate in 2013 was 7.7 percent.
- Our average decision time on submissions was 20 days.
- The Governance email newsletter now has 3,289 subscribers.
- The Governance blog was visited 42,000 times in 2013. Visitors came from 163 countries.