Governance and Intergovernmental Relations in the European Union and the United States
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Governance and Intergovernmental Relations in the European Union and the United States

Theoretical Perspectives

Edited by Edoardo Ongaro, Andrew Massey, Marc Holzer and Ellen Wayenberg

This book represents a major attempt to draw together two fundamental streams of research: intergovernmental relations and multi-level governance (MLG). Combining US and European schools of thought, this timely volume outlines key areas of convergence and divergence.
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Chapter 4: Toward an Emergent Theory of IGR Governance at the Dawn of the Network Era

Robert Agranoff


Robert Agranoff References to the present as the era of the network are often overused. Nevertheless referring to the era of network is of increasing relevance for understanding current connections between units of government within a nation-state system. Once more oriented to the minimal statistics gathering and funding assistance between more or less ‘watertight’ compartments, intergovernmental relations (IGR) has evolved into dynamic and highly integrated sets of behaviors, not only between agents of governments but among a host of non-governmental actors, non-profit and for-profit. As such, IGR needs to be redefined beyond its earlier conceptualization as involving, ‘the various combinations of interdependencies and influences among public officials – elected and administrative – in all types and levels of governmental units with particular emphasis on financial, policy, and political issues’ (Krane and Wright 1998: p. 1168; see also Wright 1988). Over periods of time waves of collaborative operationalism are overlaying earlier and less complicated interdependencies and influences. Contemporary IGR, as demonstrated here, not only involves linkages between officials representing governments at different levels, but nongovernmental organizations (NGO) who interact in contractual, fiduciary, collaborative and working partner interaction with governments. Any theory of IGR must account for the cumulative development of government policy and its administration – the changing landscape – yet maintain traditional institutional and process elements, inasmuch as they have not been replaced (Wright, Stenberg and Cho, this volume). This transformation will be examined by looking at how government institutions and later NGOs interact to shape politics, government, and transactional management across sectors. Evolution...

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