1 February 2017

SOG is the IPSA Research Committee on the Structure and Organization of Government.  It has been the academic sponsor of the journal Governance  since its creation by SOG in 1988.    Learn more.
How relying on elites causes peacebuilding  failures
The international community invests enormous resources in peacebuilding but sees modest results.   "It is the underlying theory of  peacebuilding  that is at fault,"  Naazneen Barma writes in a commentary in the current issue of Governance.   The usual process of "institutional engineering" to promote statebuilding and democratization "becomes captured by elites, who co-opt interventions to achieve their own political objectives."  Barma urges "A more clear-eyed and experimental approach to peacebuilding ," that recognizes elite priorities and finds new ways of broadening political space.    Read the commentary .
Why sub-Saharan voters support corrupt politicians
Why do voters support corrupt politicians?  In the current issue of GovernanceEric Chang and Nicholas Kerr examine voter attitudes and behavior in eighteen sub-Saharan African countries.  They distinguish between outsiders and two kinds of insiders: those who belong to patronage networks, and those who share partisan or ethnic affilations  with incumbents.  "Patronage insiders" recognize higher levels of corruption but tolerate it, while "identity insiders" are simply less aware of political corruption.   Read the article .
UK agency autonomy: Not what it seems
Britain's "Next Steps" program was supposed to redefine the bargain between ministers and senior public service executives, granting more autonomy in exchange for more direct accountability.  But it hasn't always worked out that way,  Thomas Elston explains.  We need to distinguish explicit and tacit aspects of the "public service bargain ," and recognize that these two aspects move "in and out of alignment with each other."  In the UK justice sector, oversight of agencies is "far more hierarchical and contract based."  But the appearance of independence allows politicians to make more intricate calculations about credit-claiming or blame-avoiding for agency activities.  Read the article.
Brazil: Measuring capacity, explaining corruption
In a new article for GovernanceKatherine Bersch , Sérgio Praça , and Matthew Taylor respond to calls for better measures of state capacity and bureaucratic autonomy at the subnational level.  Their new measures are "objective and independent of outcome ."  And they allow exploration of the causes of corruption within Brazil.  "Low capacity and autonomy are associated with higher corruption," they find.  Single-party dominance also increases corruption through its negative effects on agency capacity.   Read the article .
Call for nominations: 2017 Levine Book Prize
The Levine Book Prize Committee is seeking nominations for the 2017 Levine Prize.   More details here .  The committee is composed of Professor Tobias Bach (University of Oslo), Professor Caspar van den Berg (Leiden University), and Professor Ting Gong (City University of Hong Kong).    Information about previous winners is available here .
New books by SOG members
Joel D. Aberbach 's  new book,  Understanding Contemporary American Conservatism,  has been published by Routledge.   More information .

Per Laegreid
, Carsten Greve and Lise Rykkja are editors of Nordic Administrative Reforms: Lessons for Public Management, just published by Palgrave Macmillan.   More information.

Tom Christensen and Per Laegreid are editors of The Routledge Handbook to Accountability and Welfare State Reforms in Europe, just published by Routledge.   More information.