Governance: An international journal of policy, administration and institutions

Archive for the ‘commentary’ Category

The world is doing better than you think

It’s easy to be pessimistic about the state of the world, Steven Radelet writes in a new commentary for Governance.  But developing countries are doing much better in many ways: They are healthier, wealthier, more peaceful, and more democratic. Will this “great development transformation” continue?  It can, says Radelet, if we take three critical steps.  “Continued progress for the world’s poor will require persistent commitments to improved governance.”  Free access to the commentary.

Written by Governance

November 20, 2015 at 5:22 pm

Posted in commentary

Needed: a new kind of global governance research

“Global governance is not working,” David Coen and Tom Pegram of University College London say in a commentary in the current issue of Governance.  And neither is global governance research.  “The ‘global’ in governance remains largely terra incognita et obscura” for many academics,  Coen and Pegram argue.  “It is essential for social science scholars to grapple more fully with a globalizing governance reality.”  Free access to the commentary.

Written by Governance

September 27, 2015 at 9:24 am

US civil service is in crisis, and academics are asleep at the switch

In the United States, the presidential race is heating up, and one result is an increasing number of assaults on century-old ideas about the merit-based civil service.  “The merit principle is under fierce attack,” says Donald Kettl, in a new commentary for Governance.  Kettl outlines five “tough questions” that are raised by attacks on the civil service system — and says that the US research community “has been largely asleep at the switch” on all of them.  Within major public policy schools, courses on the public service have been “pushed to the side.”  A century ago, American academics helped to build the American state.  Kettl warns that “scholarly neglect in the 2000s could undermine it.”  Read the commentary.

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August 27, 2015 at 9:06 am

Posted in commentary

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NPM after 30 years: Higher costs, more complaints


In 1980 Michael Heseltine, a key Cabinet minister in the government of Margaret Thatcher, said that “efficient management is the key to revival” of British government.

The United Kingdom was a “vanguard state” for experimentation with administrative reforms that came to be known as the New Public Management, or NPM.  After three decades, what results has NPM produced in the UK?  Christopher Hood and Ruth Dixon address that question in a commentary for Governance.  Complaints about maladministration and judicial challenges to government action increased markedly, Hood and Dixon say, while administrative costs “rose substantially” in real terms.  On the other hand, trust in government did not collapse, as many critics of NPM feared, and administrative costs did take up a smaller share of total public spending.  The overall conclusion?  “Government worked a bit worse and cost a bit more.”  Free access to the commentary.

Related reading: In a commentary for Governance in July 2014, Jonathan Boston and Chris Eichbaum assessed thirty years of neoliberal reform in New Zealand, another “vanguard state” for NPM.  Read their commentary.

Written by Governance

April 9, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Posted in commentary

How “intellectual ostriches” hurt political science

In his commentary for the April issue of Governance, Stephen Del Rosso says that political scientists need to do a better job of bringing their work to the attention of policymakers — and to do that, they have to balance rigor with readability.  “There is no shortage of important scholarly work that goes unnoticed or unread because of its presentation,” says Del Rosso, Director of the Carnegie Corporation’s International Peace and Security Program.  “The future of the political science field is too important to be left to the intellectual ostriches who bury their heads in self-referential esoterica.”  Free access to the commentary.

Matthew Flinders  of the University of Sheffield also noted the discipline’s difficulties in a January 2014 commentary.  “Political science has generally failed to fulfill its broader social responsibilities . . . It is — at least in some limited ways — to blame for ‘why we hate politics.'” Read the commentary.

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March 16, 2015 at 7:49 am

Posted in commentary

How to reinvent government in Latin America and the Caribbean

“Criticism of the capacity of the state to deliver quality services has become widespread, generating cynicism and undermining trust in government,” says Carlos Santiso of the Inter-American Development Bank.  In a commentary for Governance, Santiso identifies the three key steps toward improving government performance in Latin America and the Caribbean: creating “agile centers of government”; fostering a “technically competent and fiscally sustainable civil service”; and using new technologies to promote transparency.  Free access to the commentary.

Written by Governance

January 30, 2015 at 7:13 am

Posted in commentary

The challenge for Indonesia’s new president

Joko Widodo

Joko Widodo

In a commentary for the next issue of Governance, Marcus Mietzner of Australian National University looks at the results of last month’s election in Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country.  Enthusiasm over the election of Joko Widodo “is already giving way to a growing realization of the protracted problems” confronting the country, Mietzner says.  These include “the fight against corruption, economic reform, infrastructure development, and reduction of wasteful subsidies.”  Free access to the commentary.

Also: read earlier online comments on recent elections in India and the European Union by Thomas Risse, Alexander Katsaitis, Krishna Tummala, and Rahul Mukherji.

Written by Governance

November 8, 2014 at 7:48 am

Posted in commentary, Elections


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