News from Governance March 7, 2014
An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions

Co-Editors  Alasdair S. Roberts and Robert H. Cox  Book Review Editor  Clay Wescott 
How should we measure the quality of governance?


District magistrate at work in Uttar Pradesh, India.  WikiMedia
Last year in Governance, Francis Fukuyama argued that there were "big and decisive drawbacks" to the use of output measures in assessing government quality.  (Read Fukuyama's commentary.)  Two new research notes in Governance take issue with Fukuyama's position. 

"Measuring performance," says Robert Rotberg of Harvard University, "can best be done by examining outputs (results), not inputs . . . Such a scheme makes epistemological and parsimonious sense.  It is is tidy and transparent.  And it works."  Read the research note.

Meanwhile Craig Boardman of Ohio State University says that the rejection of output- or outcome-based measures is premature.  "A particular government's quality can and should be assessed," Boardman says, "not just in terms of its capacity and autonomy (as Fukuyama suggests), but additionally in terms of the outcomes its society values and expects."  Read the research note.
How managers survive in state-owned enterprises
Despite a worldwide movement toward privatization, state-owned enterprises continue to play a critical role in many national economies.  In the current issue of Governance, Laurenz Ennser-Jedenastik of the University of Vienna uses a large dataset to examine the factors that influence the survival of managers in Austrian state-owned enterprises.  His analysis "yields strong support for the notion that partisan congruence between managers, cabinet, and individual ministers is a major determinant of managerial survival."  Read the article.
Barriers to participation in EU rulemaking
It's well-established in the American literature on rulemaking that the technical complexity of an issue can be a barrier to public participation.  In the current issue of Governance, Milena Neshkova of Florida International University examines sixty rulemaking exercises to determine whether the same problem is at work in the European Commission's regulatory process.  "The technical character of supranational regulation," Neshkova concludes, "precludes the broader public and elected politicians from assuming a larger role."  Read the article.
How ideas shaped fiscal policy in Germany and France
In the early phases of the global economic crisis, many commentators heralded the worldwide comeback of Keynesianism.  In the current issue of GovernanceMark Vail of Tulane University argues for a more nuanced understanding of post-crisis shifts in fiscal policy.  Examining developments in Germany and France, Vail argues that national intellectual traditions "powerfully shaped" fiscal policy in each country.  "Ideational factors governed the extent to which authorities turned to deficit spending and, equally important, the content of these policies, in ways that neither standard institutionalist nor rationalist accounts can explain."  Read the article.