News from Governance 12.03.13

News from Governance 12.03.13 - An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions

Co-Editors Alasdair S. Roberts and Robert H. Cox Book Review Editor Clay Wescott

What is governance? Readers respond

Last week, Governance published Francis Fukuyama's commentary, What is Governance? Get free access to the commentary, and read the full responses on the Governance blog:

Fukuyama provides an ambitious and timely attempt to develop the analytical leverage and traction of this almost ubiquitous concept. And yet the depoliticized and parsimonious approach adopted risks eviscerating the core value and essence of this concept. -- Matthew Flinders, University of Sheffield

[Fukuyama] misses that state capacity/statehood and the quality of governance are two different things which do not correlate on average. -- Thomas Risse, Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin

I would add another dimension to the discussion, a methodological dimension. One of the reasons for the abysmal state of most cross-national measures of governance is that few resources have been invested in the creation of the measures. -- Peter Nardulli, University of Illinois

I welcome Francis Fukuyama's contribution to the broader discussion of governance and development. Nonetheless I find myself puzzled by Fukuyama's definition of governance, his state-centric approach, his focus on capacities rather than on normative theory, and the neglect of the regulatory governance perspective. -- David Levi-Faur, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

What I particularly appreciate in the Fukuyama piece is the focus on state capacity, a much under-looked institutional measure. State capacity is important irrespective of one's political ideology and where one stands on the state versus market debate. A strong, capable state is needed, be it to direct economic processes directly, or to enforce the rules of the game which make markets work. --John Luiz, University of Cape Town

I can only heartily agree with Fukuyama and the other commentators that better study of the effectiveness of the functional apparatus of government would advance our understanding of how policy works. However, at the risk of provocation I would suggest that this important project is not an answer to the question of what governance is, nor should it be. -- Thomas Hale, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford

I would like defend a normative definition of quality of government/ (QoG) against the empirical one suggested by Francis Fukuyama. . . Fukuyama asks if impartiality results in high quality of government. A recent study by my colleagues at the QoG institute shows that this is probably the case. -- Bo Rothstein, University of Gothenberg

Fukuyama does not ask the fundamental question of why we would wish to measure governance in the first place? This merits debate, since the fast growth of such measures seems to have been mainly driven by the short term needs of development aid practitioners and investors. -- Christopher Pollitt, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

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