News from Governance July 30, 2015
An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions

Co-Editors  Alasdair S. Roberts and Robert H. Cox   Book Review Editor  Clay Wescott 
Green wins Levine Book Prize


Professor Jessica Green of New York University has won the 2015 Levine Book Prize for Rethinking Private Authority: Agents and Entrepreneurs in Global Environmental Governance, published by Princeton University Press. The prize committee says "This fascinating book is a decisive contribution to the governance debate as it investigates the emergence, growth, and influence of private actors in global environmental and climate governance." Read more about the Levine Prize.  Discount on this book.  Princeton University Press is offering a 30 percent discount on Rethinking Private Authority.  Order here.  Use offer code EX024.  Offer expires October 15.
How ethics experts bolster technocratic power
In the current issue of Governance , Annabelle Littoz-Monnet examines the role of ethics experts who serve on advisory committees for controversial issues within the European Union's policymaking process.  Such committees are often portrayed as "sites of democratization", Littoz-Monnet says.  In practice, however, the effect is exactly the opposite.  "Making ethics a matter of expert judgment . . . enables bureaucrats to assert their grip on issues that would normally be solved via the democratic route . . . [and] conceals which ethics and whose values prevail in EU politics."   Read the article .

Better service delivery might not improve the legitimacy of fragile states


In the current issue of Governance Claire Mcloughlin challenges the c onventional wisdom that the provision of vital public services will always improve the legitimacy of a fragile or conflict-affected state.  Many factors, such as shifting understandings about the role of the state and the ease of attributing performance to state entities, affect judgements about state legitimacy. It follows that legitimacy may not be enhanced by the "'one-size-fits-all' modus operandi of state-building" favored by some development agencies. Open access to the article.  And link to research citing this article.
Why it's tough to stop the abuse of governmental resources for political purposes


There have been scandals in many advanced democracies about politicians' abuse of governmental resources for party-political purposes.  But can anything be done about this? In the current issue of Governance , Nicole Bolleyer and Anika Gauja provide a framework for thinking about the problem, and reasons for skepticism about the possibility of effective regulation.  "Institutional functions cannot be clearly separated from party-political functions in parliamentary systems," they argue.  "The much observed increasing regulation of party actors might be less constraining for them in practice than is commonly assumed."  Read the article.
Reviews: Development strategies, privatized infrastructure
In the current issue of Governance, Vivek Srivastava reviews Working with the Grain by Brian Levy. "Levy's central objective of the book is to stake out the middle ground between 'one-size-fits-all' best practice approaches on the one hand and 'every country is unique' on the other hand . . . Levy's primary contribution is in providing a relatively simple, elegant, and appealing characterization of 'context.' He makes a reasonably convincing case for the framework with the cases he presents." Read the review

And Judith Clifton reviews Foreign and Direct Investment in Argentina: The Politics of Privatized Infrastructure by Alison E. Post. "Post comes up with a surprising finding: Foreign-dominated investment was four times more likely to end up with a prematurely canceled contract than investments dominated by a domestic investor. Developing country investors enjoyed an organizational structure better suited to take on a more patient, culturally sensitive,and longer-term investment than their international counterparts." Read the review.
Ford School highlights cap-and-trade research


A news release from the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan highlights research just published in Governance on cap-and-trade policies.  The article by Barry Rabe examines how the design of cap-and-trade policies adopted by U.S. states influences the probability that they will survive or die.   Read the article
Weaver: Getting compliance with government policies


Many government policies work only if citizens or corporations comply with their requirements. But what determines whether citizens or corporations will comply?  In Governance, Kent Weaver proposes a comprehensive framework for understanding compliance problems.  Weaver says that it is important for policymakers to think carefully about the barriers to compliance that may be operating at a particular place and time, and accommodate heterogeneity in the character and circumstances of the target population.  Read the article.  And link to research citing this article.