22 February 2016

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.
Why the UK Parliament really does matter
Conventional wisdom says that legislatures in parliamentary systems don't matter very much -- and that the British Parliament provides strong evidence of this reality.   In the current issue of Governance Meg Russell and Philip Cowley take issue with the prevailing view. Researchers have focused too much on the decision-making stage, while neglecting Parliament's role at earlier and later policy stages, as well as behind-the-scenes negotiations. After analyzing 6,000 parliamentary votes, 4,000 legislative amendments, 1,000 committee recommendations, and 500 interviews, Russell and Cowley conclude that Westminster's influence is substantial and rising.   Read the article .
Enforcing India's right to education
India's Right to Education Act, adopted in 2009, creates a binding obligation on the state to provide elementary education to all children between 6 and 14 years. But little academic attention has been paid to the mechanisms that are crucial to the enforcement of such rights.   In the current issue of Governance Malini Bhattacharjee and Dolashree Mysoor examine how redress procedures for the Right to Education Act work in the state of Karnataka. "The design of the grievance redress mechanism under the RTE Act in Karnataka," they conclude, "is ill-equipped to deal with a variety of complaints that may arise and ineffective in enforcing the right to education."   Read the article .
Nominations for Levine Book Prize
Nominations are invited for the 2016 Levine Book Prize.   More details about the nomination process and previous winners here .   The 2016 prize committee includes Professors Wai-Fung Lam, Alan Jacobs, and Beryl Radin.
How Indian states decide whether to pay their debts
The debt burden of subnational units in many developing countries is rising.  India is no exception.  State governments face a choice: whether to increase spending on social services, or make interest payments on their debt.  In the current issue of Governance Lawrence Sáez  examines the factors that influence this decision.  He finds that there are significant increases in expenditures on the debt in years in which state assembly elections are held.  Sáez says that this is evidence of a demonstration effect: "namely, an effort by politicians to demonstrate to voters their commitment to responsible economic management, and to seek voter support on that basis."   Read the article .
Notice to authors about journal redesign

The editors of Governance have been notified by Wiley, the journal's publisher, that it will adopt a new design for articles beginning in early March. Wiley states that the new design "will optimize journals for the online environment, leading to reduced time from author submission to publication. These changes will improve the author experience by allowing for a more efficient publishing process, reducing time spent on typesetting and layout checking. We also anticipate that this will reduce the number of errors requiring author correction during proofing."    The generic sample of the new design for Governance can be viewed here.
Book reviews: Development, strategic management, multilevel finance
In the current issue of GovernanceRobert Picciotto reviews The Politics of Evidence and Results in International Development by Rosalind Eyben, Irene Guijt, Chris Roche, and Cathy Shutt.  This book "is reformist rather than revolutionary . . . It stays clear of big ideas.  It engages positively with the evidence-based movement rather than directly challenging its fundamental tenets."   Read the review.

Tommaso Agasisti reviews Strategic Management in Public Services Organizations by Ewan Ferlie and Edoardo Ongaro.  The book "can be an excellent manual for graduate students . . . [and] is also an an advanced contribution for scholars in the field."   Read the review.

Richard Allen reviews the Handbook of Multilevel Finance edited by Ehtisham Ahmad and Giorgio Brosio.  "Three stars out of five for this comprehensive volume of papers . . . that, despite some excellent chapters, falls somewhat short of expectations."   Read the review.
Results from our January book survey
Governance will begin its 30th year of publication in 2017.  To mark the anniversary, in January 2016 we asked readers of our newsletter to nominate books published in 1988 or afterward that have made an important contribution on subjects covered by the journal.   See the results here.