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Improving Government Performance with Independent Monitoring Organizations
This book is based on a simple concept: no one is in a better position to hold a government accountable than those it governs.
When governments fail to meet the needs of their citizens, the international community often turns to large external organizations such as the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank. These analysts and monitors may have the resources and expertise to analyze and advise on public spending and governance, but where do they go when the time comes to implement new policies? And can they really have a more nuanced understanding of the country's problems than its own citizens? Who is there to watch day and night to hold the government accountable?
From the Ground Up proposes that the international community's efforts to improve public expenditure and budget execution decisions would be more effective if done in collaboration with local independent monitoring organizations. Stephen Kosack, Courtney Tolmie, and Charles Griffin track the work of sixteen independent monitoring organizations from across the developing world, demonstrating how these relatively small groups of local researchers produce both thoughtful analysis and workable solutions. They achieve these results because their vantage point allows them to more effectively discern problems with governance and to communicate with their fellow citizens about the ideals and methods of good governance.
The authors also outline some disadvantages facing independent monitoring organizations, such as insufficient resources, inadequate access to data, and too little influence with high government officials. Collaboration with larger international organizations could help independent monitoring organizations overcome such obstacles, increasing their chances of improving governance from the ground up.
Exploring Constitutional Functionality
In the 225 years since the United States Constitution was first drafted, no single book has addressed the key questions of what constitutions are designed to do, how they are structured, and why they matter. In From Words to Worlds, constitutional scholar Beau Breslin corrects this glaring oversight, singling out the essential functions that a modern, written constitution must incorporate in order to serve as a nation’s fundamental law. Breslin lays out and explains the basic functions of a modern constitution—including creating a new citizenry, structuring the institutions of government, regulating conflict between layers and branches of government, and limiting the power of the sovereign. He also discusses the theoretical concepts behind the fundamentals of written constitutions and examines in depth some of the most important constitutional charters from around the world. In assaying how states put structural ideas into practice, Breslin asks probing questions about why—and if—constitutions matter. Solidly argued and engagingly written, this comparative study in constitutional thought demonstrates clearly the key components that a state’s foundational document must address. Breslin draws a critically important distinction between constitutional texts and constitutional practice.
Seeking Energy Security in Europe, Japan, and the United States
In recent years, the efforts of nations to promote energy security have been hotly debated. Fuels Paradise examines how five major developed democracies—Britain, France, Germany, Japan, and the United States—have sought to enhance their energy security since the oil shocks of the 1970s and in response to the more diverse set of challenges of the early twenty-first century. Drawing on a vast range of primary and secondary sources, John S. Duffield explains the actions taken—and not taken—by these countries to address their energy security concerns. Throughout the book, Duffield argues that state strength and policy legacies are essential for understanding national responses to energy insecurity. In addition to identifying feasible energy policies and the constraints faced by policy makers, he evaluates the prospects for international cooperation to promote energy security and considers the implications of recent advances in the production and distribution of energy, particularly the fracking revolution. An ambitious cross-national and longitudinal study grounded in promising theories of national behavior, Fuels Paradise will contribute substantially to broader debates about the determinants of state action and public policy.
The Rise of Electoral Authoritarianism in Peru
President Alberto Fujimori’s sudden resignation in November 2000 brought an end to a highly controversial period in Peruvian history. His meteoric rise to power in 1990 fueled by widespread popular support, followed by his decision to dissolve Congress and rule by decree in 1992, has made his regime a focus of special attention by scholars trying to understand this complex and contradictory presidency.This book offers a comprehensive assessment of Fujimori’s regime in the context of Latin America’s struggle to consolidate democracy after years of authoritarian rule. Setting the regime conceptually in a discussion of alternative forms of government—delegative democracy, neopopulism, and electoral authoritarianism—the essays study it from two different perspectives: external (in its relations with political parties, Lima’s mayors, public opinion, women, the U.S. government) and internal (examining economic policies as determined by governing coalitions, networks of corruption, and Fujimori’s unsavory relationship with his security advisor Vladimiro Montesinos). Overall, The Fujimori Legacy helps illuminate the persistent obstacles that Latin American countries face in establishing democracy.In addition to the editor, contributors are Robert Barr, Maxwell Cameron, Catherine Conaghan, Henry Dietz, Philip Mauceri, Cynthia McClintock, David Scott Palmer, Kenneth Roberts, Gregory Schmidt, John Sheahan, Kurt Weyland, and Carol Wise.
Women's Movements, State Restructuring, and Global Development in Ecuador
Since the early 1980s Ecuador has experienced a series of events unparalleled in its history. Its “free market” strategies exacerbated the debt crisis, and in response new forms of social movement organizing arose among the country’s poor, including women’s groups. Gendered Paradoxes focuses on women’s participation in the political and economic restructuring process of the past twenty-five years, showing how in their daily struggle for survival Ecuadorian women have both reinforced and embraced the neoliberal model yet also challenged its exclusionary nature. Drawing on her extensive ethnographic fieldwork and employing an approach combining political economy and cultural politics, Amy Lind charts the growth of several strands of women’s activism and identifies how they have helped redefine, often in contradictory ways, the real and imagined boundaries of neoliberal development discourse and practice. In her analysis of this ambivalent and “unfinished” cultural project of modernity in the Andes, she examines state policies and their effects on women of various social sectors; women’s community development initiatives and responses to the debt crisis; and the roles played by feminist “issue networks” in reshaping national and international policy agendas in Ecuador and in developing a transnationally influenced, locally based feminist movement.
Decentralization, Democracy, and Subnational Government in Brazil, Mexico, and the USA
Governance in the Americas, a multidisciplinary volume, offers important new insights about decentralization, federalism, and democratic change in the three largest federal nations in the Americas: Brazil, Mexico, and the United States. Originating in a major research project conducted by teams in each of the three countries, this study contributes significantly to our understanding of how representative and participatory democracy is being constructed at state and local levels in the recently emerged democracies of Brazil and Mexico, and is being recast and sustained in the United States. The contributors evaluate the performance of subnational governments, as these societies become more genuinely decentralized, and as new actors and managerial routines create and implement public policy. The authors challenge the criticism of “exceptionalism” in the United States, seeking instead to understand the points of convergence and divergence among the three countries as each seeks to improve the effectiveness and public accountability of its policy-making processes.
A New Framework for Analysis and Action
In recent years, the developing world has seen a burst of efforts to reduce corruption, increase transparency and accountability, and improve governance. Needless to say, this is an important and encouraging development. However, the lack of a reliable compass to describe where a country is at a given moment and where it could be heading in the absence or acceptance of proposed reforms can result in disastrous missteps. The unfortunate absence of such a guide has helped lead to innumerable failed governments or ineffective regimes. This important book aims to fill that void.
How to Improve Governance emphasizes the need for an overall analytical framework that can be applied to different countries to help analyze their current situations, identify potential areas for improvement, and assess their relative feasibility and the steps needed to promote them. A country-specific analysis needs to be comprehensive, in the sense that it includes the four concepts of transparency, accountability, governance, and anticorruption throughout the calculus. Without such an analytic framework, any reform attempt is likely to flounder for lack of a shared understanding of the underlying problems and of the feasible reforms. The book gives special emphasis to the potential for civil society groups to play a stronger role in holding governments accountable for their use of public resources, and to the importance of developing politically feasible, prioritized country strategies for reform.
"Whether one looks at how to increase domestic demand for good governance, how to make government more accountable to the public, or how to build democratic processes that deliver results, the underlying issues are essentially the same.... As development actors of various types... seek to help, more and more of them are calling for a clearer conceptual framework to guide their efforts." From the Introduction
International Institutions in Postcommunist Europe
Though the fall of the Soviet Union opened the way for states in central and eastern Europe to join the world of market-oriented Western democracies, the expected transitions have not been as easy, common, or smooth as sometimes perceived. Rachel A. Epstein investigates how liberal ideas and practices are embedded in transitioning societies and finds that success or failure depends largely on creating a social context in which incentives held out by international institutions are viewed as symbols of an emerging Western identity in the affected country. Epstein first explains how a liberal worldview and institutions like the European Union, World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization go hand-in-hand and why Western nations assume that a broad and incremental program of incentives to join will encourage formerly authoritarian states to reform their political and economic systems. Using Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Ukraine as case studies, she demonstrates the limits of conditionality in the face of national social perceptions and elucidates the three key points around which a consensus within the state must emerge before international institutions can expect liberalization: domestic officials must be uncertain about how changing policies will affect their interests; the status of international and domestic institutions must not be in jeopardy; and the proposed polices must seem credible. In making her case, Epstein cleverly bridges the gap between the rationalist and constructivist schools of thought. Offering new data on and fresh interpretations of reforming central bank policies, privatizing banks with foreign capital, democratizing civil-military relations, and denationalizing defense policy, In Pursuit of Liberalism extends well beyond the scope of previous book-length studies.
Islam, Gender and Networks in Post-Suharto Indonesia
In an important social change, female Muslim political leaders in Java have enjoyed considerable success in direct local elections following the fall of Suharto in Indonesia. Indonesian Women and Local Politics shows that Islam, gender, and social networks have been decisive in their political victories. Islamic ideas concerning female leadership provide a strong religious foundation for their political campaigns. However, their approach to women's issues shows that female leaders do not necessarily adopt a woman's perspectives when formulating policies. This new trend of Muslim women in politics will continue to shape the growth and direction of democratization in local politics in post-Suharto Indonesia and will color future discourse on gender, politics, and Islam in contemporary Southeast Asia.