News from Governance October 10, 2014 - An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions
Co-Editors: Alasdair S. Roberts and Robert H. Cox. Book Review Editor: Clay Wescott.
Monkey Cage profiles current issue of Governance
The Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog features a discussion of the current issue of Governance. Stephen Krasner and Thomas Risse explain that this special issue challenges the conventional wisdom that connects "failed states with utter governance breakdown." More common are "areas of limited statehood," in which key services may still be provided under certain circumstances. Krasner and Risse explain that the special issue identifies the three key factors that will determine when service provision is likely to succeed. Read the article on Monkey Cage.
Why state-building interventions fail
International trusteeships -- that is, United Nations-sanctioned efforts to directly exercise power in areas where states have failed -- rarely accomplish their intended results. In the current issue of Governance, David Lake and Christopher Fariss explain why. They examine the impact of imposed peacekeeping missions authorized by the United Nations since 1991 and find that these missions frequently fail to produce states with greater capacity. Moreover international trusteeship has "no discernable effect" on the provision of critical public services. These interventions fail for two reasons: lack of support from local elites, and lack of long-term commitment on the part of interveners. Read the article.
Do states really matter?
Conventional wisdom says that the state plays a central role in explaining the enormous variation in provision of essential services around the world. In the current issue of Governance, Melissa Lee, Gregor Walter-Drop, and John Wiesel challenge that view. Examining data from more than 150 countries, they find "remarkably little evidence of a consistent relationship between statehood and service delivery." Some key services are provided even in areas where statehood is woefully lacking. "This result," the authors conclude, "casts doubt on the conventional wisdom about the centrality of the state for the provision of collective goods and services." Read the article.
How multinational corporations help in areas of limited statehood
We don't ordinarily think of multinational corporations as providers of collective services in areas of limited statehood. But Jana Hönke and Christian Thauer report in the current issue of Governance that this isn't always the case. They examine multinationals in the South African car industry that help with the fight against HIV/AIDS and mining firms in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congro that are trying to improve public security. Two factors are critical to the success of such initiatives. They must have validation from domestic authorities. And they must be highly institutionalized. Read the article.
Boston University profiles coming special issue
Boston University profiles a forthcoming special issue of Governance on the role of the International Monetary Fund since the 2008 financial crisis. Read the profile. The special issue was organized by Cornel Ban and Kevin Gallagher, co-directors of the university's Global Economic Governance Initiative.
Book reviews: Empowering the poor, conflicts in China
In the current issue of Governance, Phyllis R. Pomerantz of Duke University reviews Betrayed: Politics, Power and Prosperity by Seth Kaplan. Kaplan calls this a "handbook for political and economic change in less developed countries." It is a well-written and pragmatic volume, says Pomerantz, although marked by a contradiction. It "is about empowering the poor but looks explicitly to development country elites . . . to make that happen." Read the review.
And Dechao Sun of Jilin University reviews The Causes, Escalation and Management of Public Conflicts in China by Yao Xu. The book "contributes to an overall understanding of the various stages of the escalation of public conflicts in China" and provides a "rich accumulation" of case studies that will prove useful to other researchers. Read the review.