News from Governance July 1, 2014
An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions

Co-Editors  Alasdair S. Roberts and Robert H. Cox  Book Review Editor  Clay Wescott 
The New Zealand model, thirty years later


Finance Minister Roger Douglas announces 1984 Labour budget
Thirty years ago, on July 14, 1984, New Zealand voters elected a Labour government that launched a far-reaching program of public sector reforms.  The "New Zealand model" became famous around the globe.  In the current issue of Governance, Jonathan Boston and Chris Eichbaum of Victoria University examine the long-term effects of the reform program begun in 1984.  Neoliberal reforms triggered electoral changes that made full realization of the neoliberal program impossible.  Today, they write, "there is evidence of not one but two unfinished intellectual projects" -- the neoliberal revolution, and the constitutional pushback.   Free access to the commentary.
Divided government: Some business still gets done


Does divided government make it harder for to get business done?  Conventional wisdom says yes. (See our January commentaries by Norm Ornstein and Jared Diamond.)  In the current issue of Governance,  Frank Baumgartner, Sylvain Brouard, Emiliano Grossman, Sebastien Lazardeux, and Jonathan Moody have a more nuanced view.  Looking at decades of legislative activity in the United States and France, the authors do find that divided government is likely to result in fewer pieces of major legislation.  But it has no impact on overall legislative productivity.  Routine functions and sudden crises are dealt with.  "Whatever the partisan or institutional configuration, whatever the setting (USA or France)," the authors conclude, "governments govern."  Read the article

How China deals with the microblog challenge


Millions of people in China are active users of microblogs -- and as Nele Noesselt writes in the current issue of Governance, that presents a challenge for Chinese authorities.  Microblogs are a source of revenue for the emerging tech sector, and a window into the public's mood.  But dissent expressed on microblogs might also delegitimize the system.   Noesselt explains how the party-state's internet strategy has evolved in response to this tension.  "China's political elites are learning," Noesselt argues, "and continuously refining their strategy of using social media as an additional tool for the management of state-society relations."  Free access to the article.