News from Governance 20 January 2014
An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions

Co-Editors  Alasdair S. Roberts and Robert H. Cox  Book Review Editor  Clay Wescott 
Incentive pay for teachers: How Chile made it work
 
Protest in Chile in 2011
Reforms to improve teaching by introducing pay-for-performance schemes usually run into opposition from powerful teacher unions.  In the current issue of Governance, Alejandra Mizala and Ben Ross Schneider examine an unusual success story: the introduction of pay incentives for teachers in Chile from 1990 to 2010.  The reforms succeeded, Mizala and Schneider conclude, because they were introduced through repeated rounds of negotiations, and also because of the design of the scheme, which introduced collective and then individual incentives for performance.  Salary increases also helped to overcome opposition.  When students and teachers engaged in large scale demonstrations in 2011, "they called into question nearly all aspects of Chile's educational system," the authors say, "but not salary incentives."  Free access to the article.
Does transparency really matter?

 

It's widely believed that transparency will improve the perceived legitimacy of governmental decisionmaking.  But is that really the case?  In the current issue of Governance, four scholars from the University of Gothenberg -- Jenny De Fine Licht, Daniel Naurin, Peter Esaiasson, and Mikael Gilljam -- use an innovative experimental design to determine how transparency actually affects legitimacy.  "The common notion of a straightforward positive correlation between transparency and legitimacy is rather na�ve," the authors argue.  "The effect is highly dependent on context and may indeed be negative as well as positive."  Free access to the article.

Also in the current issue, Yeling Tan examines the unexpected ways in which disclosure of environmental information has produced results in China.   Read an interview with Yeling Tan on the Governance blog.
Book reviews: Red tape in India, and stopping civil war
 
In the current issue of Governance, Shruti Majumdar reviews Red Tape: Bureaucracy, Structural Violence, and Poverty and India, by Akhil Gupta.   Majumdar says that the book "paints a vivid picture of a Weberian nightmare -- a state whose everyday functioning is shot through with neither rationalization nor administrative logic, rather with contingency, guesswork, and 'barely controlled chaos.'"  Free access to the review.

And Clare Lockhart reviews Why Peace Fails: The Causes and Prevention of Civil War Recurrence by Charles T. Coll.  The book's "major contribution," Lockhart says, "is to focus attention on the critical policy issue of why peace agreements break down and on the central importance of political dynamics following the apparent achievement of peace."  Free access to the review.
How do you deal with Frankenstates?
 
In a commentary published in Governance last October, Kim Lane Scheppele examined the problem of "Frankenstates" -- nations that conform to  good governance checklists but are still dysfunctional, because of the malignant interaction effects that follow when "perfectly reasonable constitutional components are stitched together."  Scheppele cited Hungary as an example.  Read the commentary.  In a recent contribution to a European Commission forum on EU justice policies, Scheppele proposes a new approach for dealing with Frankenstates.  Drawing on her commentary, Scheppele says that the Commission should broaden its field of vision to evaluate such interaction effects.   Read the discussion paper.
Wilson, Rockman receive Kloeti Award

 

Wilson and Rockman
At the January meeting of the IPSA Research Committee on the Structure and Organization of Government in Jerusalem, Graham Wilson of Boston University and Bert Rockman of Purdue University received the Ulrich Kloeti Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Study of Public Policy, Administration and Institutions.  The award is presented annual to scholars who have made exceptional contributions to research in the field throughout their career. The Structure and Organization of Government Research Committee is the academic sponsor of Governance.  Wilson and Rockman are both former editors of the journal.  Read more about the SOG conference organized by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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