News from Governance March 16, 2015
An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions

Co-Editors  Alasdair S. Roberts and Robert H. Cox   Book Review Editor  Clay Wescott 
How "intellectual ostriches" hurt political science


In his commentary for the April issue of Governance, Stephen Del Rosso says that political scientists need to do a better job of bringing their work to the attention of policymakers -- and to do that, they have to balance rigor with readability.  "There is no shortage of important scholarly work that goes unnoticed or unread because of its presentation," says Del Rosso, Director of the Carnegie Corporation's International Peace and Security Program.  "The future of the political science field is too important to be left to the intellectual ostriches who bury their heads in self-referential esoterica."  Free access to the commentary.

Matthew Flinders  of the University of Sheffield also noted the discipline's difficulties in a January 2014 commentary.  "Political science has generally failed to fulfill its broader social responsibilities . . . It is -- at least in some limited ways -- to blame for 'why we hate politics.'" Read the commentary.
Delivering essential services: Does the state matter?


Last October, Governance published a special issue on state-building in areas of limited statehood.  In their contribution, Melissa Lee, Gregor Walter-Drop, and John Wiesel questioned conventional wisdom that the state plays a central role in explaining variation in provision of essential services.  Examining data from more than 150 countries, they found "remarkably little evidence of a consistent relationship between statehood and service delivery."  Read the article.

In a note on Governance Early View, B. Guy Peters and Jon Pierre commend the article for tackling a "fundamental research question in political science" but argue that the variables used in the study are "inadequate measures of the contemporary state and that the conclusions drawn in this article are therefore misleading."  Peters and Pierre provide a brief overview of difficulties in measuring the state and its activities. Free access to their response to the article.


Melissa Lee and Gregor Walter-Drop defend their approach to the measurement of statehood.  This approach "avoids a developed country bias."  Moreover, "Our goal was to challenge the bias of conventional governance research that conflates statehood and service delivery."  The evidence suggests that the "core functions of the state" may not be as necessary for service provision as commonly assumed.  Free access to their reply.
Nominate your book for the Levine Book Prize


The deadline for nominations for the Levine Book Prize is March 31.  The committee welcomes nominations from authors.  Details about the Prize, the 2015 call for nominations, and previous winners of the prize, are available here.
VHB gives Governance top quality rating


VHB, the German Association of Management Scholars, has selected Governance as one of three journals to receive its top rating for quality in 2015.   See the ratings.