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The two sides of institutional innovation

Promises and Limits of Democratic Participation in Latin America

Leonardo Avritzer

The introduction defines political/democratic innovation as the capacity of government to express political will and civil society inputs in several formats. Usually, these inputs are linked to the introduction and/or implementation of public policies, through which civil society and the state interact in order to democratize the state itself. It based on this definition that different experiences of innovation will be analysed.

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Introduction: The theory of institutional innovation – an overview

Promises and Limits of Democratic Participation in Latin America

Leonardo Avritzer

The introduction of the book discusses the state of the art of the theory of institutional innovation and discusses the main theme of the book in the following terms: because there are good reasons to promote innovation but also to stick with a democratic core of norms without which democracy itself may be endangered, the key question is: how can we learn to separate the positive from the negative elements of institutional innovation?

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Introduction

A Comparative Perspective

Christoph Scherrer

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Ana Rosa Ribeiro de Mendonça and Simone Deos

The authors emphasize an overlooked raison d’être for public banks. They argue that limiting public banks to filling the gaps left by private banks, the standard argument in economics, neglects a very important dimension of public banks, that is, their capacity to act countercyclically and thereby stabilize access to credit during economic downturns. Taking a cue from Hyman Minsky, they point to the immanent volatility of financial markets dominated by private actors. In order to counter destabilizing tendencies, the presence of institutions with the logic of action that differs from that of the market is necessary. As public banks are not primarily concerned with profitability, they can play this role. To a certain extent, their presence in the market is an automatic stabilizer because public banks provide credit with long maturation. In times of crisis, they can also be used for discretionary intervention, that is, opening up new credit lines.

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Nina Bernstein

In the chapter, a reporter for the New York Times who has written extensively about immigration detention policies in various countries assesses the limits that investigative journalism faces in spurring detention reforms. She argues that while journalism occupies a privileged place in a democracy because it helps hold government to account, in practice it operates at a far messier intersection between the politics of reform and the contingencies and conventions of even the most robust news operation. The author focuses her analysis on the relationship between investigative journalism and the early efforts of the Barack Obama administration to overhaul immigration detention by creating “a truly civil detention system.” Today, the US detention system is larger than ever, abuses remain endemic, the government has massively expanded its capacity to lock up mothers and children in “family residential centers,” and the new administration is threatening to ramp up already record numbers of deportations.

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Wim van Oorschot and Femke Roosma

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Michael J. Flynn and Matthew B. Flynn

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Introduction: identifying and explaining governance virtuous circles

Creating Virtuous Circles of Anti-corruption

Alina Mungiu-Pippidi

In the academic world as well as in international development, after many years of being marginal, corruption has resurfaced as a major issue. This chapter outlines our understanding of corruption as a type of particularistic social allocation of public resources. It defines it in opposition to distribution based on ethical universalism and as the outcome of equilibrium between opportunities for corruption and constraints on elite behavior. We define what we understand as a virtuous circle—the passage from extractive to inclusive institutions—and why we decided to study them in this book. Throughout this chapter, we also explain step by step how we identified the criteria for contemporary achievers that managed to establish virtuous circles, and argue for the selection of the case studies presented in this volume. The chapter argues for a diagnostic tool nested in quantitative evidence and presents the different indicators that we can use in this context. Furthermore, the narrative presents two paths to better equilibria between opportunities and constraints. The paths look at the modernization of the state and the modernization of society. In this chapter we set the scene for the in-depth case studies offered in this volume. We trace evidence of why certain countries managed to establish virtuous circles and whether these changes are sustainable. In comparing results we hope to contribute to a better understanding of the paths to good governance.

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Edited by Corien Prins, Colette Cuijpers, Peter L. Lindseth and Mônica Rosina

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Foreword

Attitudes to Welfare Deservingness

Edited by Wim van Oorschot, Femke Roosma, Bart Meuleman and Tim Reeskens