News from Governance 17 February 2014
An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions

Co-Editors  Alasdair S. Roberts and Robert H. Cox  Book Review Editor  Clay Wescott 
  What's wrong with Washington?
The United States has dodged another stand-off over the debt ceiling, but there are still dark clouds over the nation's capital.  The Gallup Poll says that two-thirds of Americans are dissatisfied with their system of government.  Despite a major financial crisis, Americans have more confidence in banks than they do in Congress.  What's wrong with Washington? 
Norman Ornstein says it's tribalism
"If we are not in the most dysfunctional period in our history," says Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, "we are certainly in the top five."  The problem isn't just ideological polarization, Orenstein argues in a new commentary for Governance.  It's tribalism -- "an approach where if you are for it, I am reflexively against it, even if I was for it yesterday."  Many factors encourage tribalism: skewed redistricting, campaign financing, and the transformation of mainstream media.  And the consequences are profound.  "Political dysfunction," Ornstein concludes , threatens "the health, well-being, and future prospects for the country." Free access to the commentary.
Jared Diamond says it's worse than that
Don't get preoccupied with shutdowns and debt ceilings, says Jared Diamond, the Pulitzer-winning author of books such as Collapse and Guns, Germs and Steel.  In a new commentary for Governance, Diamond says that the United States' fundamental problems are bigger than that.  A collapse in public investment means that the country is losing its competitive advantage.  Economic inequality is threatening our political stability.  And democratic processes are being undermined by restrictive voting laws and the influence of big money.  The United States is still a rich, established democracy, Diamond says.  But "we are squandering our advantages."  Free access to the commentary.
Book reviews: disaster response, securities regulation, health care
In the current issue of Governance, Felix Kiruthu of Kenyatta University reviews  Building Resilience: Social Capital in Post Disaster Recovery by Daniel Aldrich.  "Aldrich's work," says Kiruthu, "has profound implications for the role of politicians, bureaucrats, researchers and non-governmental organizations."  Read the review.

Patrick Schmidt reviews Policing the Markets: Inside the Black Box of Securities Enforcement by James Williams.  Schmidt says that Williams' study of Canadian securities regulation "advances the state of the art in the empirical study of regulatory enforcement."  Read the review.

And Albert Weale of University College London reviews Politics, Health, and Health Care by Theodore Marmor and Rudolf Klein.  The book collects essays written over forty years "united by a concern to show how ideas, interests and institutions combine to bring about policy outcomes."  Read the review.
EU study says Governance is top-three journal


A new report from the EU-funded COCOPS research project finds that European academics rank Governance as one of the top three journals in terms of general quality.  Three hundred senior academics responded to the survey, completed in 2013. The survey also found that Governance was one of the top three preferred journals for publishing research.  Download the report.
APJPA remembers Bowornwathana


The Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration has published a special issue comprised of articles written by Bidhya Boworwathana of Thailand's Chulalongkorn University.  Professor Bowornwathana passed away in August 2013.  Governance has also published a note remembering Professor Bowornwathana, who was actively involved in the IPSA Structure and Organization of Government Research Committee, the academic sponsor of Governance.  The special issue includes an article originally written for Governance.