Governance: An international journal of policy, administration and institutions

What price for a US ambassadorship?

How do financial contributions to political campaigns of US presidents influence the awarding of diplomatic posts to political appointees?  In a new article  for GovernanceJohannes Fedderke and Dennis Jett  examine 764 posting decisions made under two presidents between 2000 and 2013.  They show how ambassadorships are awarded in return for campaign contributions, and produce a price list for a range of diplomatic posts.  The price for the ambassadorship to the UK?  Based on one model, about $2.3 million in personal contributions.  But for some postings — like the small Nordic countries — “donors would have to be paid to go.” Read the article.

Written by Governance

December 5, 2016 at 11:43 am

Posted in New articles

Make Denmark Great Again?

capBy 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 »

Written by Governance

December 1, 2016 at 2:58 pm

Posted in Opinion

Book reviews: Hive minds, US foreign policy, Indian cities

In the current issue of Governance, Fred Thompson reviewsHive Mind by Garett Jones.  “Jones sets out to explain why higher cognitive ability scores are so much more important for collectivities than for individuals.”  It might be the year’s most important economics book, says Thompson.  Read the review.
Oliver Stuenkel reviews Sailing the Water’s Edge: The Domestic Politics of American Foreign Policy by Helen Milnerand Dustin Tingley.  The book shows how “the president’s ability to obtain his desired foreign policy depends on negotiations with Congress, as well as public opinion and interest group support.  This matters far more than mainstream IR literature recognizes.”  This is an important contribution to the debate about US foreign policy, Stuenkel says.  Read the review.
And Tanu Kumar reviews Contesting the Indian City, edited by Gavin Shatkin.  Each chapter “is carefully researched and paints a vivid picture of life and politics in an Indian city.”  But the broader theoretical contributions “remain unclear” Read the review.

Written by Governance

November 27, 2016 at 7:52 pm

Posted in book reviews

Canada dares to change, but cautiously

In the current issue of Governance, Evert Lindquist and Chris Eichbaum argue that studies of Westminster systems need to expand their view beyond the relationship between politicians and public servants.  The Westminster model also includes “tacit bargains” between ministers and caucuses, and between governments and the general public.  Canada did not undertake reforms as radical as other Westminster systems.  But the Harper government did upset the status quo, often provoking strong resistance.  Lindquist and Eichbaum contrast Canadiandevelopments with other systems, and consider how the new Trudeau government may change course.  Read the article. The article is part of a special issue on the future of the Westminster model.

Written by Governance

November 24, 2016 at 7:51 pm

Posted in Current issue

10 reasons policymakers don’t use data effectively

We are in the midst of a data revolution, Donald Kettl says in a research note in the current issue of Governance.  But “we are generating data faster than we are devising strategies for hearing what it tells us and helping policymakers act on it.”  Kettl outlines ten reasons why decision makers don’t make best use of the new bounty of data.  By grappling with these ten problems, academics can “improve the odds that careful analysis, rather than the noisy background of ordinary knowledge, shapes policy.”  Read the research note.

Written by Governance

November 21, 2016 at 2:53 pm

Posted in Current issue

Call for nominations: 2017 Levine Book Prize

The Levine Book Prize Committee is seeking nominations for the 2017 Levine Prize.  More details here.  The committee is composed of Professor Tobias Bach (University of Oslo), Professor Caspar van den Berg (Leiden University), and Professor Ting Gong (City University of Hong Kong).   Information about previous winners is available here.

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November 20, 2016 at 7:52 pm

Posted in Levine Book Prize

How the GFC changed ideas about ministerial control

Before Brexit there was the global financial crisis.  In the current issue of Governance, Katherine Dommett, Muiris MacCarthaigh, and Niamh Hardiman examine how the GFC changed ideas about the organization of bureaucracy in the United Kingdom and Ireland.  The conventional Westminster model stressed centralization and ministerial control.  The conventional model was weakened because of NPM-style reforms.  But the authors find that the GFC caused another swing of the pendulum.  Austerity drives resulted in “efforts to reassert central government oversight.”  But the authors find that the end result was not simply a restoration of pre-NPM practices.  Rather, it was a more nuanced process of “negotiated governance.”  Read the article. The article is part of a special issue on the future of the Westminster model.

Written by Governance

November 17, 2016 at 7:50 pm

Posted in Current issue