The GOVERNANCE blog

Governance: An international journal of policy, administration and institutions

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.

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Written by Governance

January 1, 2017 at 11:21 am

Posted in 30th anniversary

State capacity first, then democracy

It is widely agreed that the states that are most capable of promoting development are “constrained Leviathans.”  But there is debate about sequencing: does it matter whether states acquire state capacity before or after democratization?  In a new article forGovernanceMichelle D’Arcy and Marina Nistotskaya argue that “democratizing after the state has acquired high levels of state capacity leads to a more efficient social order.”  They use a novel indicator of historical state capacity — cadastral records — in their analysis.  States that developed extensive capacities before democratization appear to be less corrupt and better at providing essential public goods today. Read the article.

Written by Governance

December 15, 2016 at 11:46 am

Posted in New articles

Why extravagance in Chinese government persists

“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.

Written by Governance

December 12, 2016 at 11:45 am

Posted in New articles

Thirtieth anniversary essays

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 GrindleGood 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.

Written by Governance

December 11, 2016 at 11:33 am

Posted in 30th anniversary