News from Governance June 1, 2015
An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions

Co-Editors  Alasdair S. Roberts and Robert H. Cox   Book Review Editor  Clay Wescott 
Perestroika at the IMF on fiscal stimulus
 
For thirty years before the global financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund upheld the view that fiscal policy was an ineffective tool for economic management. But the IMF changed its tune after 2008, sometimes challenging governments that were bent on austerity. In the current issue of Governance, Cornel Ban goes into the IMF's "engine room" to explain how this change happened. The groundwork was laid because of growing rift among researchers about the significance of fiscal policy. But a critical factor was the appointment of a new managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, in 2007, followed by a series of key personnel changes within the Fund. The result was "a virtual perestroika in the Fund's fiscal policy doctrine."   Read the article.
Business as usual: IMF protection of foreign creditors

The global financial crisis might have changed other aspects of IMF policy, but when it comes to the treatment of foreign and domestic creditors, it is business as usual. In the current issue of
Governance, Aitor Erce of the Bank of Spain argues that after the crisis, the IMF insisted that member states honor their commitments to foreign creditors, while being less rigorous about government commitments to domestic creditors and suppliers.  "The Fund," says Erce, "continues to privilege foreign creditors at the expense of domestic creditors."  Moreover the Fund does not fully understand how its policy aggravates the risk of economic dislocation and continued recession. Read the article.
Book reviews: The politics of fiscal squeeze, and compliance with EU policies
 
In the current issue of Governance, Richard Allen reviews  When The Party's Over: The Politics of Fiscal Squeeze in Perspective, edited by David Heald, Rozana Himaz, and  Christopher Hood.  Fiscal squeeze is "the amount of political effort that is put into" retrenchment.  The book challenges "the commonly-held assumption that the financial crash of 2008 and the dramatic policy changes that followed were unique."  Read the review.

Juliana Piecha reviews The Impact of European Employment Strategy in Greece and Portugal by Sotirios Zartaloudis.  The book provides a "detailed study of the transmission of EU guidelines into national policy."  In Portugal, EU policies provided a window of opportunity for domestic players to advance their agenda.  But in Greece, domestic actors regarded EU policy as "too alien" and responded only when compliance became a condition of financial support.  Read the review.
SOG/Governance in Istanbul, Shanghai

 

SOG is the IPSA Research Committee on the Structure and Organization of Government (RC27), and the academic sponsor of Governance.  SOG is organizing a set of panels for next year's IPSA conference in Istanbul, on 23-28 July 2016.  Please email your panel proposals, including a panel title and brief abstract (250 words), before 12 July 2015 to bezes@hotmail.com ; julia.fleischer@uib.no and m.lodge@lse.ac.uk.

 

Governance will also partner with the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at Fudan University, and other institutions, to organize a symposium on governance in China in October 2015.  The symposium will be held in Shanghai on October 16-17.  More details here.

How to bridge the academic-practitioner gap

 

In a response to recent comments by Stephen Del Rosso and Richard French, Donald Moynihan of the University of Wisconsin offers some practical advice on bridging the gap between academics and policymakers. "No silver bullet will vastly reduce the gap between policy and academia, and even with good-faith effort by scholars to provide evidence on key questions, policymakers can, and will, frequently ignore them. But more can be done."   Read the response on the Governance blog.
openquote

Focusing on policy entrepreneurs enhances our understanding of anticorruption policies . . . Anticorruption entrepreneurs reduce corruption because they raise the level of scrutiny, foment uncertainty, and deter those considering abusing their power. --  Doron Navot and Nissim Cohen, Governance, January 2015