Browse by title
Fritz Sager, Christian Rosser, Céline Mavrot and Pascal Y. Hurni
Chan S. Jung
This chapter provides conceptual explanations about goal and ambiguity separately. Then goal ambiguity in public management is explained in terms of definition, importance, and paradox. Goal ambiguity is defined as the extent to which a set of goals in a public program or an organization allows different interpretations in deciding work related to target, time limit, and external evaluation. Ambiguous goals can have negative effects throughout a program, an organization, and further on citizens and society and on public service performance. However, public managers must face dilemmatic situations between clear goals for (rational) managerial strategy and ambiguous goals for political need (e.g. interventions on the society versus broader political support), which is called the paradox of goal ambiguity. Then this chapter describes the plan of this book.
B. Guy Peters
Scholars and the individuals involved in making public policy use a variety of words to describe how they actually arrive at the content of those policies. Perhaps the most commonly used word is “formulation” (see Jordan and Turnpenny, 2015), but words such as creation, innovation, and development are also used to describe the process of finding some form of intervention to confront a policy problem. The hope is always that the policy that is formulated or created will be able to “solve” the problem, and that government (and citizens) can go on to cope with the next problem that arises. When Herbert Simon (1996, 111) wrote that “everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones”, the definition was somewhat generic but was definitely speaking to policy design. Although thinking about policy design has become more common in policy studies, it should be considered as a significant alternative to more casual ways of thinking about policy formulation. As Jan Tinbergen (1958, 3), a Nobel laureate in economics argued, design (in particular design for development policy) was an alternative to “decisions taken on the basis of a general idea of progress and often somewhat haphazardly”. That haphazard style of making policies persists in many countries and in many policy areas. Therefore, careful consideration of design strategies is important for both academic students of policy and policymakers in the “real world” of government.
Chan S. Jung
Lasse Gerrits and Stefan Verweij
We argue that infrastructure projects are complex and that evaluations of such projects need to do justice to that complexity. The three principal aspects discussed here are heterogeneity, uniqueness, and context. Evaluations that are serious about incorporating the complexity of projects need to address these aspects. Often, evaluations rely on single case studies. Such studies are useful because they allow researchers to focus on the heterogeneous, unique, and contextual nature of projects. However, their relevance for explaining other (future) projects is limited. Larger-n studies allow for the comparison of cases, but they come with the important downside that their relevance for explaining single projects is limited because they cannot incorporate heterogeneity, uniqueness, and context sufficiently. The method Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) presents a promising solution to this conundrum. This book offers a guide to using QCA when evaluating infrastructure projects.
Assessing Behavioural Public Policy
Behavioural public policies or nudges have become ever more popular in recent years, with governments and other public agencies increasingly keen to use light-touch interventions to improve public policies. Nudge units and their equivalents have been established across the world, and bureaucrats often use experiments to test out behavioural interventions. By asking how far to nudge, the book is a review of how behavioural economists, think tank advocates and policy-makers have used nudges, providing many examples of good practice. Some common criticisms of nudge are also reviewed, as is the ethical debate about the loss of individual autonomy. The core claim of the book is that policy-makers could go further than they do currently by adopting a more radical version of the research and policy agenda. By incorporating more conscious thought into behavioural public policies, what is called ‘nudge plus’, while at the same time encouraging a bottom-up and decentralised approach to formulating and authorising nudges, policy-makers can design policies that give more agency to citizens.
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.