|Reagan and Gorbachev in Red Square, March 1988|
This month marks the publication of volume 30 of Governance. In a commentary in the current issue, Colin Campbell and Guy Peters reflect on the launch of the journal in 1988. “The major journals in policy and administration were much less internationalized than they are now,” Campbell and Peters write. There was “a need for a journal that would address public policy and administration in a comparative manner.” Read the commentary.
“No government in the world has ever conducted so many political campaigns against official extravagance as the Chinese government,” Ting Gong and Hanyu Xiao write in a new article for Governance. But the problem of lavish spending on dining and drinking, lodging and transport by local government officials persists. To understand why, the authors conducted 65 in-depth interviews with officials in major Chinese cities. Their study reveals the “intricate weave of interinstitutional and interpersonal” pressures that shape the behavior of local officials. The findings help to explain the roots of persistent corruption “in societies where corruption is not only a fact of life but a way of living.” Read the article.
To mark our upcoming thirtieth anniversary, Governance has published eight essays that examine the theory and practice of governance over the last thirty years:
Susan Rose-Ackerman. What Does Governance Mean? “‘Governance’ is an ambiguous term that often substitutes for something else. It is often invoked to signal that the political issues at the core of government are off the table.” Read the article.
Merilee Grindle. Good Governance, R.I.P.: A Critique and an Alternative. “As a concept, good governance more often obscures than enlightens. The concept has encouraged muddy thinking about the role of governance in the development process.” Read the article.
Geert Bouckaert. Taking Stock of “Governance”: A Predominantly European Perspective. “Ideally, governance research is rigorous and relevant. In reality, it is sometimes not so rigorous, and also not so relevant.” Read the article.
Guy Peters and Jon Pierre. Two Roads to Nowhere: Appraising 30 Years of Public Administration Research. “Public administration needs to return to thinking about the ‘big picture’ rather than the fragments that dominate much of the contemporary work in the discipline.” Read the article.
Frank Baumgartner. Creating an Infrastructure for Comparative Policy Analysis. “The other types of barriers, those coming from mere national or literature-based tradition, however, have no particular redeeming value. As we develop a literature ever more deeply integrated across different traditions, we will drop these artificial distinctions. And that will leave us with our true theoretical differences.” Read the article.
Bert Rockman. The Melting Down of Government: A Multi-Decade Perspective. “Government can only be part of the solution if it is adequately resourced and finds the will to be part of the solution. Under current circumstances, the joint probability of meeting those conditions is close to zero.” Read the article.
Rahul Mukherji. Governance Reform in a Weak State: Thirty Years of Indian Experience. “India is home to a weak state in an eco-system powerfully shaped by social forces. The state can neither make a Dengist nor a Lee Kuan Yew type move to swiftly turn the page toward a new policy paradigm.” Read the article.
Yijia Jing. The Transformation of Chinese Governance: Pragmatism and Incremental Adaption. “Chinese governance has been transformed through a combination of pragmatic thinking and incremental adaptation of institutions.” Read the article.
By Daniel Béland and Klaus Petersen. The victory of Donald Trump at the recent presidential election surprised many observers both at home and aboard. Although it is tempting to see the Trump phenomenon as a uniquely American mix of nationalism and populism, it is clear that his discourse is very much in sync with the right-wing, anti-immigration populism that has become so influential across Europe. This means that, paradoxically, populist nationalism is a transnational reality that is spreading across national borders. Taking this into account is helpful to both understand better the phenome of national populism. In the United States, it is common to associate Trumpism with the recent Brexit vote in the United Kingdom or the enduring popularity of Marine Le Pen and her Front National in France.
Yet the Trump phenomenon has also a lot in common with the rise of anti-immigration populism in Denmark, a small, social-democratic country that apparently has relatively little in common with the United States. Created in 1997, the Danish People’s Party has become one of the most successful populist parties in Europe. Turning to its rhetoric and policy prescriptions can help us grasp what is both unique and surprisingly common about Trumpism. Read the rest of this entry »