News from Governance 4 May 2015
An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions

Co-Editors  Alasdair S. Roberts and Robert H. Cox   Book Review Editor  Clay Wescott 
How the BRICS changed IMF views on capital controls
In the 1990s, the International Monetary Fund argued that the free flow of financial capital across borders was a "one size fits all" remedy to many macroeconomic problems.  But the IMF shifted its position after the global financial crisis, conceding that capital controls might sometimes be justified.  Why did the change happen?  In the current issue of Governance, Kevin Gallagher of Boston University examines the role of the BRICS nations -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- in challenging the prevailing wisdom.  The IMF was receptive to this challenge because its key economists were already engaged in a "profound rethinking" of existing policies.  Industrialized nations were "caught off guard" by the changes that resulted from the coincidence of these two factors.  Read the article.
IMF on transnational banking: critical thinking, conventional policies
In the current issue of Governance, Daniela Gabor examines how the global financial crisis affected the International Monetary Fund's attitude toward the regulation of transnational banking.  Post-crisis, some IMF officials came to view global banks as "super-spreaders" of systemic risk.  But this critical attitude did not influence policy advice given to individual countries, which continued to take a benign view of transnational banking.  Why the disjunction?  One answer may be the persistence of disagreement within the IMF, or reluctance to confront central banks in member countries, "typically their closest allies in domestic policy arenas."  Read the article.
The recent commentary by Christopher Hood and Ruth Dixon, What we have to show for thirty years of New Public Management, has been forwarded to 84,809 Twitter users.
Book reviews: Easterly on experts, quality of government, economic crisis and protest
In the current issue of Governance, Tony Barclay of Columbia University reviews The Tyranny of Experts by William Easterly Easterly describes "an unholy alliance between like-minded 'experts' and autocratic rulers," Barclay says.  But the argument is marred by "sweeping and shallow generalizations" and "crude, monochromatic stereotypes."  Read the review.

Chengzhi Yi of the East China University of Political Science and Law reviews The Quality of Government by Bo Rothstein.    The book is "important and enlightening," although the conceptualization of "quality of government" is "problematic and confusing."  Read the review.  

And Sina Odugbemi of the World Bank reviews The End of Protest: How Free-Market Capitalism Learned to Control Dissent by Alasdair Roberts.  "It is a profoundly depressing text," says Odugbemi.  "It is also a good read, bracing and forthright."  Read the review.
The theory-practice gap is really a canyon
Richard French On the Governance blog, Richard French responds to Stephen Del Rosso's  commentary on the gap between academia and the policy world.   The pressures on academics to avoid engagement with the world of political practice are "more powerful than Del Rosso allows," French says.  Policymakers seem likely to respond to this reality by adopting British-style performance measures that gauge the "impact" of research.   Read French's response.
The established view in political science is state first, and then democracy. . . . [But] the very introduction of democratic politics may contribute to the further development and strengthening of the state.

Giovanni Carbone and Vincenzo Memoli, Governance, January 2015