28 November 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.
What price for a US ambassadorship?
How do financial contributions to political campaigns of US presidents influence the awarding of diplomatic posts to political appointees?   In a new article  for  Governance Johannes Fedderke and Dennis Jett  examine 764 posting decisions made under two presidents between 2000 and 2013.  They show how ambassadorships are awarded in return for campaign contributions, and produce a price list for a range of diplomatic posts.  The price for the ambassadorship to the UK?  Based on one model, about $2.3 million in personal contributions.  But for some postings -- like the small Nordic countries -- "donors would have to be paid to go."  Read the article .  
Why extravagance in Chinese government persists
"No government in the world has ever conducted so many political campaigns against official extravagance as the Chinese government,"  Ting Gong and Hanyu Xiao write in a new article for Governance.  But the problem of lavish spending on dining and drinking, lodging and transport by local government officials persists.  To understand why, the authors conducted 65 in-depth interviews with officials in major Chinese cities.  Their study reveals the "intricate weave of interinstitutional  and interpersonal" pressures that shape the behavior of local officials.  The findings help to explain the roots of persistent corruption "in societies where corruption is not only a fact of life but a way of living."   Read the article .
State capacity first, then democracy
It is widely agreed that the states that are most capable of promoting development are "constrained Leviathans."  But there is debate about sequencing: does it matter whether states acquire state capacity before or after democratization?  In  a new article for Governance Michelle D'Arcy and Marina Nistotskaya argue that "democratizing after the state has acquired high levels of state capacity leads to a more efficient social order."  They use a novel indicator of historical state capacity -- cadastral records -- in their analysis.  States that developed extensive capacities before democratization appear to be less corrupt and better at providing essential public goods today.  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 .
SOG seeks new editorial team for Governance
The IPSA Research Committee on the Structure and Organization of Government (SOG), the academic sponsor of  Governance  is looking for a new editorial team. The current editorial team of Alasdair Roberts and Robert Cox will complete their term in December 2017. More information is available here. Interested scholars should contact Professor Martin Lodge at M.Lodge@lse.ac.uk.  According to Journal Citation Reports, Governance is ranked #2 in public administration and #5 in political science internationally.  It is the only journal in the world that is ranked in the top five in both fields.