News from Governance May 2012

Governance News from Governance May 2012
An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions

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



Aucoin: How NPM went wrong

In an influential 1990 Governance article, Peter Aucoin argued that New Public Management wrestled with a tension between empowering public servants and tightening political control over them.  

In the current issue of Governance, Aucoin argues that in many cases the drive for political control has won out, producing what he calls the New Political Governance (NPG).  NPG has four features: the harnessing of administration to a "continuous campaign" for reelection; the rise of political staff as a "third force" in governance; the politicization of senior administrative appointments; and an expectation of public service loyalty to the government of the day.   Open access to the article.

Toronto Star columnist Susan Delacourt says that Aucoin's new article provides "a scathing indictment of the hyper-partisan, communication-obsessed world of public service today."

Peter AucoinPeter Aucoin passed away in July 2011.  This article was in the final stages of review at Governance at the time.  The editors are pleased to publish it in recognition of Professor Aucoin's service to the journal and the field of public administration.

The current issue also includes two comments on Aucoin's article.  Jonathan Boston of Victoria University of Wellington asks how many of the elements of NPG are really new.  And J.R. Nethercote of Australian Catholic University acknowledges the pressure of accelerated news cycles and continuous campaigns, but suggests that Westminster systems do correct themselves after excesses of politicization.  Read the commentaries.  

Professor Nethercote also has an extended comment on the article in today's Canberra Times.



Refining the concept of polycentricity

The 2009 Nobel Prize awarded to Elinor Ostrom brought new attention to the concept of polycentric governance, first envisaged by Michael Polanyi sixty years earlier.  In the current issue of Governance, Paul D. Aligica and Vlad Tarko of George Mason University argue that the project of defining the concept of polycentricity is not yet completed.  The authors explain the three basic features of polycentricity and outline a framework that shows how the concept can be used more broadly.  Read the article.



Explaining the dance between agencies and interest groups

Current theories about the relationship between public agencies and interest groups are deficient in two ways, Caelesta Braun of the University of Antwerp argues in the current issue of Governance. They neglect the variation in incentives that agencies face to engage with interest groups, as well as the groups' own incentives to engage with agencies.  Braun uses survey data from British and Dutch bureaucrats and interest group leaders to test a more complex theory of agency-group interaction.  This new approach, says Braun, offers "a fruitful way forward" in explaining policymakers' responsiveness to interest groups.  Read the article.



Book reviews: State evolution, global governance, Asia's rise

In the current issue of Governance, Devin Joshi of the University of Denver reviews The Evolution of Modern States by Sven Steinmo.  "Thought provoking and timely during this period of global economic crisis," says Joshi.  Read the reviewMauricio Dussauge Laguna of the London School of Economics appraises Managers of Global Change, edited by Frank Biermann and Bernd Siebenhüner.  "An important book," he says, which has implications beyond the field of environmental policy, on which it focuses.  Read the review.  And Kingsley Ejiogu of Texas Southern University examines Robert Kaplan's Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power.  Says Ejiogu: "Kaplan illustrates the multiple possibilities of the Asian renaissance for US power."  Read the review.



Download translation of Andrews article

哈佛大学Matt Andrews教授所著《"因国制宜"话善治(Good Government Means Different Things in Different Countries)》的中译版现在可以免费下载,其英文原文发表在2010年第1期《治理(Governance)》,该翻译由北京大学政府管理学院博士生臧雷振完成。下载译文