News from Governance January 28, 2015
An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions

Co-Editors  Alasdair S. Roberts and Robert H. Cox  Book Review Editor  Clay Wescott 
How to reinvent government in Latin America and the Caribbean


"Criticism of the capacity of the state to deliver quality services has become widespread, generating cynicism and undermining trust in government," says Carlos Santiso of the Inter-American Development Bank.  In a commentary for Governance, Santiso identifies the three key steps toward improving government performance in Latin America and the Caribbean: creating "agile centers of government"; fostering a "technically competent and fiscally sustainable civil service"; and using new technologies to promote transparency.  Free access to the commentary.
Buying offices in the Eurasian state

How does the state actually work in post-Soviet Eurasia?  Put aside the notion that these countries are moving toward modern liberal democratic statehood, Johan Engvall of Uppsala University argues in the current issue of Governance.  What is evolving, instead, is the state as a kind of investment market, in which would-be officials invest in offices to obtain access to streams of income associated with those offices.  Drawing on fieldwork in Kyrgyzstan between 2006 and 2013, Engvall explains how the system works.  "Office-holding," he says, "resembles a rather uncertain franchise-like agreement."  Free access to the article.
Note from Yemen: Governance on the edge


Clay Wescott, the book review editor of Governance, was working in Yemen when the government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi resigned on last Thursday.  Clay provides a short note about his visit on the Governance blog.  "My first foreboding came on the flight from Doha to Sana'a, when my seatmate said that all signs pointed to a coup taking place during the following week."
Book reviews: Corruption in India, China's hunt for resources, public participation in the EU


In the current issue of Governance, Sean Yiath reviews The Hungry Dragon: How China's Resources Quest is Reshaping the World, by Sigfrido Burgos C�ceres and Sophal Ear.    The book "exposes the leverage China holds over source countries and reveals the cleavages in domestic and international relations among the key players."  Free access to the review.

Alvin Almendrala Camba reviews Participatory Governance in the European Union by Karl-Oskar Lindgren and Thomas Persson.  "Despite its limitations, this is a fresh and timely contribution to the governance literature."  Free access to the review.

And Nafis Hasan of Azim Premji University reviews Corruption and Reform in India by Jennifer Bussell.   The book is a "bold attempt to identify the reasons for the difference in quality" of computerized service centers that were supposed to reduce corruption in Indian state governments.  Free access to the review.
New book: Privatized infrastructure in Argentina


Cambridge University Press has just published Foreign and Direct Investment in Argentina: The Politics of Privatized Infrastructure, by SOG member Alison Post, assistant professor of political science at University of California, Berkeley.  Jos� A. G�mez-Ib��ez says that the book is "must-reading for anyone interested in the private provision of infrastructure services."  Read more about the book.

SOG is the Structure and Organization of Government Research Committee of the International Political Science Association.  It is the academic sponsor of Governance.  The Governance blog and newsletter provides news about new books by SOG members.  Membership includes a subscription to GovernanceJoin SOG here.