Governance: An international journal of policy, administration and institutions

Book reviews: Skepticism about NPM, and doubts about discipline

In the current issue of Governance, Christopher Hood reviews The Ashgate Research Companion to New Public Management, edited by Tom Christensen and Per Laegreid.  “Readers of this book,” says Hood, “will be struck by the paradox that what was often presented as a common sense, pragmatic, what-matters-is-what-works approach to public management emerges as heavily ideological and evidence-free in practice.”  Read the review.

And Richard Allen reviews The Logic of Discipline: Global Capitalism and the Architecture of Government by Alasdair Roberts.  Roberts sets out a “controversial thesis” about the shift of power to technocrats during the era of economic liberalization, Allen says.  But Roberts’ argument may overstate the problems associated with these attempts to constrain democratic processes.  Read the review.

Written by governancejournal

November 29, 2011 at 1:35 am

Posted in Current issue

Multi-stakeholder partnerships as an alternative form of global governance: When do they work?

The 2002 World Summit for Sustainable Development produced agreement on the importance of transnational multi-stakeholder partnerships as vehicles for promoting sustainable development, as an alternative to sclerotic UN institutions.  Over three hundred partnerships have been formally established.  But are they effective, and if so, why?  In the current issue of Governance (24.4, October 2011), Kacper Szulecki, Philipp Pattberg, and Frank Biermann examine these questions.  “Positive expectations that were placed on multi-stakeholder partnerships . . . have hardly been met,” the authors conclude.  A key determinant of success is institutionalization of the partnership through an executive board and permanent secretariat.  Ironically, the organizational form of effective partnerships “hardly differs from the standard structure of intergovernmental organizations.”  Read more: Explaining Variation in the Effectiveness of Transnational Energy Partnerships.

Written by governancejournal

November 22, 2011 at 1:34 am

Posted in Current issue

Management reform in the UN system: what is required for success?

Complaints about the defects of the UN systembureaucracy, duplication, secrecy and unresponsiveness — persist despite decades of reform initiatives.  In the current issue of Governance (24.4, October 2011) Olivier Nay of the University of Lille Northern France examines a successful effort at management reform within the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS.  Nay concludes that reform succeeded here because of the coincidence of external pressure and the “active support of UN agencies who had a common interest in shifting institutional arrangements.”  Success at reform in international organizations, Nay says, requires an examination of “intertwined” external and internal factors.  Read more: What Drives Reforms in International Organizations? External Pressure and Bureaucratic Entrepreneurs in the UN Response to AIDS.

Written by governancejournal

November 15, 2011 at 1:33 am

Posted in Current issue

Money-laundering rules in China: reconciling global economic integration with party control

Several mechanisms have given momentum to a global movement for rationalization of national rules against money laundering.  But the adoption of rules in China has not been straightforward, Sebastian Heilmann and Nicole Schulte-Kulkmann write in the current issue of Governance (24.4, October 2011), because of the “powerful role of secretive Communist Party bodies” in national governance.  Chinese leaders want to promote integration into the global economy, but do not want to jeopardize the “core prerogative of Communist Party control.”  The result?  A “stark gap between strict formal regulation in the law books and feeble implementation in administrative and judicial practice.”  Read more: The Limits of Policy Diffusion: Introducing International Norms of Anti-Money Laundering into China’s Legal System.

Written by governancejournal

November 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Book reviews: Freedom of Information in the developing world; oligarchy and governmental reform

Darch and UnderwoodIn the current issue of Governance, Tom McClean of the London School of of Economics reviews Freedom of Information and the Developing World by Colin Darch and Peter Underwood.  The book represents “a valuable contribution to scholarship on FOI,” McClean says, and challenges conventional wisdom about its role in advancing democratic goals.  Open access to the review for the month of October.

Also in the current issue: Clay Wescott reviews Oligarchy by Jeffery Winters of Northwestern University.  This “provocative work” examines the role of oligarchs in many countries, including the advanced democracies.  Winters’ book provides “fresh insights,” says Wescott, and helps to explain when efforts to curb corruption and decentralize authority might succeed or fail.  Read the review.

Written by governancejournal

October 27, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The new age of uncertainty

This note was prepared as the introduction for a special issue on the effects of the financial crisis that will be published by Governance in January 2012 (25.1).  Read more about contributors to the special issue here.  These introductory comments are the sole responsibility of the special issue editors, David Coen and Alasdair Roberts.  Download this article in PDF.

By David Coen and Alasdair Roberts. The papers contained in this special issue were produced as part of a project organized by Governance, the School of Public Policy at University College London, and Suffolk University Law School. The contributors met first at a roundtable in Boston in 2009, and then at a second roundtable in London in 2010. Their assignment was to consider how the financial crisis of 2007-2008 was likely to change policy and institutions in their respective fields of interest.

In the first months of the crisis that began in 2007-08 it was not clear that it would have any significant long-term effect on the conventional wisdom about governance. No doubt, the financial sector had been badly shaken; but there were optimists who thought that it would quickly right itself. Many policymakers thought that the broader economic consequences would also be limited. Prime Minister Gordon Brown believed in 2008 that the British economy would recover in six months, according to former chancellor Alistair Darling.

This early optimism was unfounded. Three years have passed since the moment of panic, and the full consequences of the crisis have still not been realized. Major economies are stagnant, the solvency of major banks remains in doubt, and even countries teeter on default. Public institutions whose solidity was unquestioned in 2006 are now besieged. Trust in major leaders has declined, governments have collapsed, and voter polarization has increased. Protests and riots are once again commonplace in western capitals. The easy consensus on policy which typified the last years of the age of liberalization — roughly, the three decades from 1978 to 2008 — has collapsed. The rationale for delegation to regulatory authorities and state retrenchment has been called into question as governments grapple with a stream of crises. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by governancejournal

October 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Posted in commentary

Governance will publish special issue on effects of financial crisis

Jon Blondal speaks at Suffolk University roundtable on impact of financial crisis

The next issue of Governance (25.1, January 2012) will feature a series of articles that examine the effect of the financial crisis on public governance.  The papers were prepared for roundtables held at Suffolk University Law School and the School of Public Policy, University College London.  Contributors include:

Paul Posner (George Mason University) and Jón Blöndal (OECD), “Democracies and Deficits: Prospects for Fiscal Responsibility in Democratic Nations”
Colin Provost (University College London) and John Gieve, Ideas and Coordination in Policy Making: The Financial Crisis of 2007-09″
Martin Lodge (LSE) and Christopher Hood (Oxford), “Into an Age of Multiple Austerities? Public Management and Public Service Bargains across OECD countries.”
Matt Andrews (Harvard Kennedy School), “Developing Countries Will Follow Post-Crisis OECD Reforms, But Not Passively This Time”
Michael Moran (Manchester), “Stories and Interests in Finance: Agendas of Governance Before and After Financial Crisis”
John Zysman (Berkeley) and Dan Breznitz (Georgia Tech), “Double Bind: Governing the Economy in an ICT Era”

Written by governancejournal

October 7, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Posted in Conferences


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