The GOVERNANCE blog

Governance: An international journal of policy, administration and institutions

UK agency autonomy: Not what it seems

Britain’s “Next Steps” program was supposed to redefine the bargain between ministers and senior public service executives, granting more autonomy in exchange for more direct accountability.  But it hasn’t always worked out that way, Thomas Elston explains.  We need to distinguish explicit and tacit aspects of the “public service bargain,” and recognize that these two aspects move “in and out of alignment with each other.”  In the UK justice sector, oversight of agencies is “far more hierarchical and contract based.”  But the appearance of independence allows politicians to make more intricate calculations about credit-claiming or blame-avoiding for agency activities.  Read the article.

Written by Governance

February 18, 2017 at 7:32 pm

Posted in Current issue

Why sub-Saharan voters support corrupt politicians

Why do voters support corrupt politicians?  In the current issue of GovernanceEric Chang and Nicholas Kerr examine voter attitudes and behavior in eighteen sub-Saharan African countries.  They distinguish between outsiders and two kinds of insiders: those who belong to patronage networks, and those who share partisan or ethnic affilations with incumbents.  “Patronage insiders” recognize higher levels of corruption but tolerate it, while “identity insiders” are simply less aware of political corruption.  Read the article.

Written by Governance

February 10, 2017 at 7:31 pm

Posted in Current issue

Preserving transparency in Trump’s America

Transparency’s rise as an administrative norm over the past few decades has seemed unstoppable.  But what will happen in the era of Trump?  Mark Fenster explores this question in a new commentary for Governance.  He distinguishes between two conceptions of transparency — technocratic and populist.  Trump seems likely to resist the first conception while embracing the second.  Transparency advocates, who have grown accustomed to thinking about openness in technocratic terms, will have to develop new ways of talking about the subject.  They should “deploy the moral and populist understanding of transparency” that is preferred by Trump himself, to defend the laws and regulations that have been put in place to assure openness. Free access to the commentary.

Written by Governance

February 10, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Posted in commentary

How can scholars defend the open society?

“The tenor of political rhetoric” is a key indicator of the health of a society’s underlying norms, Julia Buxton argues in a new commentary for Governance.  And today that indicator shows that we are in a time of “norm regress: an unraveling of the shift in public attitudes over many decades that has made human rights a lived expectation and bigotry and hatred an anathema.”  Buxton argues that it is time for academics to think more carefully about their obligations as cherished norms decay.  “How, as citizens and moral agents as well as intellectuals, shall we defend and further the ideals of an open society?”  Free access to the commentary.

Written by Governance

February 10, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Posted in commentary

New editorial team for Governance

The SOG executive is pleased to announce the selection of a new editorial team for Governance.  The new co-editors are Professors Adam Sheingate of Johns Hopkins University and Éric Montpetit of the Université de Montréal.  The new team will take over on January 1, 2018.

Written by Governance

February 7, 2017 at 9:55 am

Posted in editors

How relying on elites causes peacebuilding failures

The international community invests enormous resources in peacebuilding but sees modest results.  “It is the underlying theory of peacebuilding that is at fault,” Naazneen Barma writes in a commentary in the current issue of Governance.   The usual process of “institutional engineering” to promote statebuildingand democratization “becomes captured by elites, who co-opt interventions to achieve their own political objectives.”  Barma urges “A more clear-eyed and experimental approach to peacebuilding,” that recognizes elite priorities and finds new ways of broadening political space.  Read the commentary.

Written by Governance

February 2, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Posted in Current issue

Thirty years of Governance

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.

According to the most recent data provided by Journal Citation Reports, Governance is ranked #2 by impact factor in Public Administration, and #5 in Political Science.  It is the only journal in the world that is ranked in the top five in both fields.  This newsletter is delivered to over five thousand academics and professionals around the world.

Written by Governance

January 1, 2017 at 11:21 am

Posted in 30th anniversary