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

Co-Editors  Alasdair S. Roberts and Robert H. Cox   Book Review Editor  Clay Wescott 
US civil service is in crisis, and academics are asleep at the switch
 
In the United States, the presidential race is heating up, and one result is an increasing number of assaults on century-old ideas about the merit-based civil service.  "The merit principle is under fierce attack," says Donald Kettl, in a new commentary for Governance.  Kettl outlines five "tough questions" that are raised by attacks on the civil service system -- and says that the US research community "has been largely asleep at the switch" on all of them.  Within major public policy schools, courses on the public service have been "pushed to the side."  A century ago, American academics helped to build the American state.  Kettl warns that "scholarly neglect in the 2000s could undermine it."   Read the commentary.  And leave a comment.
Should civil servants be cheerleaders for policy?
   
Public servants in Westminster systems used to take anonymity for granted.  Now, says Dennis Grube, they are expected to "demonstrate a new level of enthusiasm when explaining or justifying government policy to the public." Grube examines how four countries have adjusted rules to account for the new role of senior public servants.  In three countries -- Canada, Australia, and New Zealand -- new practices are not fundamentally at odds with traditional Westminster practices.  But the United Kingdom may be a different case, in which civil servants find it hard to resist pressure to enter the political fray.  Read the article.

Promiscuously partisan?   The pressures on Westminster public servants were discussed in a widely cited 2012 Governance  article by Peter Aucoin .  Aucoin said that New Public Management reforms had actually caused the emergence of a "New Political Governance" in which public servants were pressured to become "promiscuously partisan."   Read the article .
How European integration frees national agencies
 
How has the process of European integration affected the allocation of policy authority within national governments?  In the current issue of  GovernanceTobias Bach, Eva Ruffing, and Kutsal Yesilkagit examine the combined effects of two trends: one is integration, and the second is the movement to move responsibilities to semiautonomous agencies.  "European and agencification," the authors say, has allowed the emergence of transnational administrative networks that are better able to handle cross-border policy problems.  But it has also strengthened national agencies' position in national policymaking.  The article examines developments in Germany and the Netherlands.   Read the article .
How many recent PA articles weren't cited in 2014? 
 
Impact factor data released by Journal Citation Reports provides only a partial view of how articles published in Public Administration journals are subsequently used.  An alternate measure is the percentage of articles that are not cited at all.   Overall, 55 percent of articles published in the field in 2012 and 2013 were not cited at all in 2014.  For Governance, the share is 27 percent.  Only one other journal in the field had a lower percentage of uncited articles.   See the data for all journals in Public Administration .
Book reviews: Integrity in governance; China's hukou system at the breaking point
 
In the current issue of Governance Julinda Hoxha reviews The Integrity of Governance  by Leo Huberts.  Huberts makes a "timely contribution . . . to the limited scholarship on integrity of governance."  But the book "does not deal with the intricacies of network governance and the challenges they pose to the concept of integrity."   Read the review.

And Jason Hansberger reviews China's Hukou System by Jason Young.  For two millennia, Young observes, one political goal has remained constant in China: "population management and control."  Young examines the main tool for pursuing that goal, the hukou system, and its evolution as China has moved toward a market system.  The system is now at a breaking point, Hansberger says, and Young's book is an "excellent reference" for anyone wanting to know "where China is going or how it got there."   Read the review.
Call for papers: SOG in Istanbul, July 2016

SOG, the IPSA Research Committee on the Structure and Organization of Government, is the academic sponsor of Governance.  SOG is organizing a series of panels as part of the next IPSA World Congress in Istanbul in July 2016.    For a full list of the 14 panel proposals and further details, check this website.  If you are interested in participating,  contact the panel organizers directly before September 10.