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The State of Access

Success and Failure of Democracies to Create Equal Opportunities

edited by Jorrit de Jong and Gowher Rizvi

Publication Year: 2008

This book documents a worrisome gap between principles and practice in democratic governance. The State of Access is a comparative, cross-disciplinary exploration of the ways in which democratic institutions fail or succeed to create the equal opportunities that they have promised to deliver to the people they serve. In theory, rules and regulations may formally guarantee access to democratic processes, public services, and justice. But reality routinely disappoints, for a number of reasons —exclusionary policymaking, insufficient attention to minorities, underfunded institutions, inflexible bureaucracies. The State of Access helps close the gap between the potential and performance in democratic governance.

Published by: Brookings Institution Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

... book is about gaps between principle and practice in democratic governance. It is an attempt to explore the ways in which democratic institutions around the world fail or succeed to create the equal opportunities that they have promised to deliver on behalf of society. Ideally, rights, rules, and regulations guarantee equal access to democratic processes, public services, and justice. Reality routinely ...

Part I. Access and the State

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pp. 1-2

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1. The Castle and the Village:The Many Faces of Limited Access

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pp. 3-34

No author in world literature has done more to give shape to the nightmarish challenges posed to access by modern bureaucracies than Franz Kafka. In his novel The Castle, “K.,” a land surveyor, arrives in a village ruled by a castle on a hill (see Kafka 1998). He is under the impression that he is to report for duty to a castle authority. As a result of a bureaucratic mix-up in communications between the castle ...

Part II. Access to Political Decisionmaking

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pp. 35-36

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2. Toward Participatory Inclusion:A Gender Analysis of Community Forestry in South Asia

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pp. 37-70

... to the idea of people’s participation in development, however diverse and contested its definition and scope, is inclusiveness—the inclusion in decisionmaking of those most affected by the proposed intervention. There is also an emerging consensus that effective governance requires people’s involvement not just as individuals but also as a collectivity, such as a village ...

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3. Access to Government in Eastern Europe:Environmental Policymaking in Hungary

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pp. 71-92

... a democracy, politicians and other policymakers are supposed to be accountable to voters.1 But even in a direct democracy, not everyone will agree on the best policy. Even after dialogue and discussion, citizens may disagree about what to do, so that states need acceptable procedures to resolve conflicts. Voting rules are one way to make public choices, but they may leave some citizens in a systematically disadvantaged position. The system may be fair in the technical sense ...

Part III. Access to the Economy

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pp. 93-94

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4. Economic Entitlements: Facilitating Immigrant Entrepreneurship

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pp. 95-116

... sitting in his sandwich bar in the western part of Amsterdam. It has been two years since the Dutch entrepreneur of Turkish descent first decided to start a sandwich bar, and he has been largely unsuccessful. Although the shop is beautifully furnished, well equipped, and otherwise ready to welcome customers, the doors remain closed. Akg

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5. Appropriate Fit: Service Delivery beyond Bureaucracy

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pp. 117-134

... communities, and individuals are often at odds in standard service-delivery systems. Bureaucratic experts with a mandate from democratically elected legislatures have no time for the input of the varied communities and individuals they serve—the latter have already had their say through the ballot box. As a result, bureaucracies impose their expertly drawn up service-delivery ...

Part IV. Access to Public Services

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pp. 135-136

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6. Revenues and Access to Public Benefits

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pp. 137-147

... are no public benefits unless public authorities authorize funds to pay for them. This is the case whether the benefits are provided in cash, as vouchers, or as services. This point seems elementary, but the relationship between providing revenues for public benefits and providing access to public benefits is not straightforward. As I hope to show, the process of enacting revenues for ...

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7. Bureaucratic Bias and Access to Public Services: The Fight against Non-Take-Up

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pp. 148-166

... the basic questions of political science remains: Who gets what, when, and how (Lasswell 1935)? And who decides? If we abide by a dichotomy between politics and administration, then after the processes of policy development and decisionmaking there should be no politics left in a policy’s execution. This is where, ideally, we find the bureaucratic apparatus of the state at work, an ...

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8. Providing Services to the Marginalized: Anatomy of an Access Paradox

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pp. 167-188

... have problems with marginalized people, and vice versa. Even when assisted by adequately funded, well-intentioned programs with eager social workers, marginalized individuals typically have a hard time escaping from poverty and societal disenfranchisement. Quite often their situations deteriorate precisely because of the misdirected “help” offered by social or human services. The ...

Part V. Access to Accountable Government

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pp. 189-190

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9. Calling 311: Citizen Relationship Management in Miami-Dade County

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pp. 191-206

... is one of the United States’ most proudly proclaimed and widely violated legal principles. It embellishes courthouse entries, ceremonial occasions, and constitutional decisions, but it comes nowhere close to describing the American legal system in practice. Millions of individuals lack any access at all to justice, let alone equal access. According to most estimates, ...

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10. Demanding to Be Served: Holding Governments to Account for Improved Access

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pp. 207-226

... significant progress on improving access to government services since the mid-twentieth century, access to basic services in developing countries, especially by the poor and other disadvantaged members of society, requires further concerted efforts. A few governments in developing countries may see service provision as an act of benevolence rather than of responsive and accountable governance. ...

Part VI. Access to Justice

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pp. 227-228

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11. Access to Justice in the United States: Narrowing the Gap between Principle and Practice

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pp. 229-249

... is one of the United States’ most proudly proclaimed and widely violated legal principles. It embellishes courthouse entries, ceremonial occasions, and constitutional decisions, but it comes nowhere close to describing the American legal system in practice. Millions of individuals lack any access at all to justice, let alone equal access. According to most estimates, ...

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12. Legal Empowerment of the Poor: Innovating Access to Justice

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pp. 250-272

...relationship between law and development is both promising and troubling. In the early seventies a famous article declared the field of law and development studies to be in crisis (Trubek and Galanter 1974). Two decades later, after fresh experiences with bringing the rule of law to ex-communist countries, some claimed that this crisis was continuing (Adelman ...

Part VII. The Access Agenda

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pp. 273-274

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13. The Dynamics of Access: Understanding “the Mismatch”

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pp. 275-286

... book is an exploratory attempt to develop a better understanding of mechanisms that impede access to government and public services and programs and innovative solutions that have improved it. In the introductory chapter we defined access as a “match between the societal commitment and institutional capacity to deliver rights and services and people’s capacity to benefit from those ...

Contributors

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pp. 287-288

Index

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pp. 289-298


E-ISBN-13: 9780815701767
E-ISBN-10: 0815701764

Page Count: 298
Publication Year: 2008

Series Title: Brookings / Ash Institute Series, "Innovative Governance in the 21st Century"