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

Co-Editors  Alasdair S. Roberts and Robert H. Cox   Book Review Editor  Clay Wescott 
The world is doing better than you think
It's easy to be pessimistic about the state of the world, Steven Radelet writes in a new commentary for Governance.  But developing countries are doing much better in many ways: They are healthier, wealthier, more peaceful, and more democratic. Will this "great development transformation" continue?  It can, says Radelet, if we take three critical steps.  "Continued progress for the world's poor will require persistent commitments to improved governance."   Free access to the commentary .
When more women means lower levels of corruption
It has been argued that recruiting more women to public office can be an effective way of reducing corruption.  In the current issue of GovernanceHelena Stensöta, Lena Wängnerud, and Richard Svensson find some support for that claim, but also explore the conditions under which it is more likely to be true.  Their multi-country study finds that the relationship between representation of women and corruption is stronger in the legislative arena than in state administration, perhaps because "the bureaucratic administrative logic absorbs actors' personal characteristics."   Read the article .
How quotas affect delivery of services to women
On the Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog, Lindsay Benstead discusses her new article in Governance on the relationship between gender-based quotas and the provision of government services to women.  Read the article.
Feedback mechanisms can undermine policy too
Most studies of policy feedback focus on the ways that programs can endure and expand over time.  In the current issue of Governance,  Alan Jacobs and Kent Weaver explore feedback mechanisms that gradually undermine the foundation for existing policies.  They outline three of these "self-undermining" mechanisms and explain the conditions under which each mechanism is likely to operate.  "The analysis," the authors explain, "expands political scientists' theoretical toolkit for explaining policy development over time."   Read the article .
How left-wing government sparks growth of rules . . .

Rules -- in the form of laws and regulations -- are a key output of government, and many people have tried to explain why the level of rule production rises and falls.  In the current issue of Governance,
Mads Leth Felsager Jakobsen and Peter B. Mortensen  add to existing knowledge by emphasizing the importance of politics.  Their long-term study of Danish government finds that "the rule-based bureaucratization of society" increases when left-wing parties hold power.  Rule production within a policy domain may also increase when that domain is positioned higher on the policy agenda -- but this "agenda effect" is only observable in policy domains with low technical complexity.     Read the article .
. . . And authoritarianism intensifies policy shifts
"Punctuated equilibrium" -- the pattern in which incremental policy changes are blocked, until pressure finally produces a big shift -- is widely regarded as a democratic disease.  In the current issue of Governance Wai Fung Lam and Kwan Nok Chan examine sixty years of policymaking in Hong Kong, under both colonial and postcolonial regimes.  Their study finds that the "pattern of punctuation and stasis" was evident even when the system had authoritarian features.  In fact, "punctuation was greater when the political system was more centralized but declined as the political system democratized."    Read the article .
On the blog: Fixing global governance research; And is public management neglecting big questions?
Follow conversations on the Governance blog about fixing global governance research and the need to expand public management research so that it addresses bigger questions about the state.   "Perverse incentive structures," says Robert F. Durant," cause junior scholars to "deflect their research attention away from big questions."