News from Governance April 10, 2014
An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions

Co-Editors  Alasdair S. Roberts and Robert H. Cox  Book Review Editor  Clay Wescott 
Why improved service delivery might not improve the legitimacy of fragile states

 

Conventional wisdom says that the provision of vital public services will always improve the legitimacy of a fragile or conflict-affected state.  In a new article for Governance, Claire Mcloughlin of the University of Birmingham explains why that isn't always so.  Many factors, such as shifting understandings about the role of the state and the ease of attributing performance to state entities, affect judgements about state legitimacy.  It follows that legitimacy may not be enhanced by the "'one-size-fits-all' modus operandi of state-building" favored by some development agencies.  Open access to the article.  There is also a related article on the website of the University of Birmingham's Developmental Leadership Program.
How bureaucratic turnover undermines aid implementation
 
When are aid programs aimed at bolstering public sector institutions in developing countries likely to work?  In the current issue of Governance, Agnes Cornell of Aarhus University considers how bureaucratic instability influences the prospects for success.  Examining a range of aid programs in Peru and Bolivia, Cornell shows how high turnover rates compromise implementation, because public servants have less experience and shorter time horizons.  And the problem is worse if turnover is driven by politics rather than market forces, because new appointees are particularly reluctant to engage with "old" projects.  Read the article.
How civil society makes transparency work
 
In a research note in the current issue of Governance, Albert Van Zyl poses "the most critical question for activists and scholars of accountability: How and when does transparency lead to greater accountability?"  Van Zyl's note looks particularly at the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in demanding and using government budget information, drawing on case studies of CSO activity in eleven countries in Africa, Latin America and South Asia.  Accountability is achieved, Van Zyl suggests, when CSOs are active and closely engaged with legislators, auditors, and other formal oversight institutions.  But research is still needed on the kinds of engagement that are most likely to enhance accountability.  Read the research note.
Is multiculturalism dead in the United Kingdom?
 
For many years, the United Kingdom was viewed as a leader in multiculturalism policy.  But recent statements by leading British politicians raise questions about their commitment to multiculturalism.  In the current issue of Governance, Peter Taylor-Gooby of the University of Kent and Edmund Waite of the University of London ask whether there really is a retreat from earlier commitments among leading policymakers.  "Concerns abut the divisive impact of multiculturalism are widely shared," the authors acknowledge.  But multiculturalism is far from dead.  On the contrary, policymakers have shifted toward a more pragmatic approach toward accommodation, less reliant on top-down initiatives designed to reinforce the rights and identities of minorities.  Read the article.
Scopus ranks Governance 4th in public administration
 
The most recent release of Scopus journal impact metrics has ranked Governance fourth in the field of public administration.  Scopus provides data for two impact measures: Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) and SCImago Journal Rank (SJR).  Governance is ranked fourth according to both measures.  See the rankings.
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