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  • Author: Marina Nistotskaya, Michelle D'Arcy
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: The institutional literature on development has emphasized the need to check abuse of power, but overlooked whether the state has power in the first place. Bridging the state capacity and collective action literatures, we argue that since public goods critical for development, such as public health provision, constitute collective action problems (CAPs), and solving CAPs in groups the size of countries requires state high infrastructural power that makes individual behaviour observable/legible, so that it can be monitored and compliance enforced. It is only when democracy is institutionalized within such a state that it can have a positive effect on public goods provision. We test this argument using a novel measure of accumulated infrastructural power – the age, extent and quality of cadastral records – for over 1,000 years for 155 countries. Our analysis shows that this variable has an independent positive effect on infant and child mortality, and it also conditions the effect of democracy. This research has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 339571) and the Swedish Research Council (grant agreement D0112101). The authors thank Robert Ellisa for excellent research assistance.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Anna Khakhunova, Marina Nistotskaya
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: New Public Management (NPM) reforms have been adopted worldwide since the mid-1970s to improve government effectiveness and efficiency. The basic premise of NPM reforms is that market orientation and management focus in the public sector will enhance effectiveness and efficiency of service delivery (Christensen and Lægreid 2010). Although NPM reforms have existed for a quarter century, we still have limited understanding of whether NPM reforms fulfill their expectations. Most importantly, very few empirical studies have been conducted that actually assess the impact of NPM reforms on performance (Alonso, Clifton, and Díaz-Fuentes 2015, Dahlström, Nistotskaya, and Tyrberg 2016, Hammerschmid and Van de Walle 2011). This study helps fill this gap by examining the effect of different NPM-type reforms on municipal performance. In particular, we assess the impact of NPM reforms on three dimensions of municipal performance – gender equity, efficiency and effectiveness – by using a data set of 810 city-level Japanese municipalities. Findings show that municipalities’ overall effort to create NPM reforms is not associated with gender equity and effectiveness in revenue expansion. However, findings suggest that municipalities with a higher commitment to various NPM- type reforms are likely to operate with lower administrative overhead costs. Results also suggest that municipalities’ efforts supporting individual reform, including outsourcing and municipal assets and debt management reform, are associated with higher efficiency in overhead costs and increased revenues from selling municipal assets. This study tests the impacts of NPM-type reforms on municipal performance in an understudied Asian developed setting.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Sofia B. Vera
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: The literature studying citizen responses to exposed political corruption is rapidly growing. While some studies explore how information credibility and group identities can reduce the electoral impact of the exposure of corruption, this article addresses different mechanisms for weak electoral accountability for corruption: public works provision and corruption prevalence. It uses a vignette experiment embedded in a national survey in Peru to isolate the causal effect of political corruption on electoral support. The results suggest that even types of corruption with side benefits would be harshly punished when attributed to incompetent politicians. They also indicate that while voters punish corruption more leniently when a candidate is competent, they respond negatively to corruption regardless of the prevalence of corruption, which casts doubt on the idea that voters in highly corrupt environments are tolerant of corruption
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Lena Wängnerud
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: There are a growing number of studies with the ambition to present causal reasoning linking the presence of women in political organizations to reductions in levels of corruption. The theoretical mechanisms proposed are however seldom directly tested, instead scholars tend to use designs where a large number of control variables are introduced in order to “rule out” rivalry hypotheses. These designs leave us with a number of loose ends that needs to be more carefully dealt with. The aim of this paper is to introduce a new and comparatively simple way of measuring degrees of femininity and masculinity and discuss whether this approach could add to the understanding of gender effects found in research on corruption. The analysis show that femininity is linked to pro-social values and the suggestion is for future research to focus more on indirect effects on corruption from the inclusion of women in political organizations. Exposure-based theories highlight mechanisms such as changed group norms that may pave the ground for an increased focus on the public good. The data used draws on a large-scale survey among Swedish citizens in 2013.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Rasmus Broms, Carl Dahlström, Marina Nistotskaya
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: Against a backdrop of increased levels of marketization of welfare services in OECD countries, this article aims to shed light on the separate effects of private ownership and competition on service quality. Using residential elderly care in Sweden as our case, we leverage unique panel data of ownership and competition against a set of indicators, pertaining to the structure, process and outcome dimensions of care quality. The main finding of our analyses is that competition does surprisingly little for quality: private entrepreneurs perform neither better nor worse under stiff competition and the quality of care is approximately the same in those nursing homes that are exposed to competition from private actors as in those that are not.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gabriella R. Montinola, Sarah Prince
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: The longstanding debate on whether foreign aid promotes development suggests that aid’s efficacy depends on conditions in recipient states. Advocates of gender equality argue that empowering women is desirable not only in its own right but also as a means to other sought-after outcomes. We bring together these issues and argue that women’s empowerment in aid-receiving countries should enhance the effect of foreign aid on child development outcomes. We find support for this argument in analyses of up to 107 developing countries from 1986-2010. Our results indicate that aid is associated with greater reductions in infant mortality where women are more empowered. Furthermore, we find that among the different dimensions of empowerment—political, economic and social—political participation has the strongest and most consistent mediating effect on foreign aid. Our work has implications for research on aid effectiveness, the consequences of gender equality, and the politics of presence
  • Topic: Gender Issues, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Gissur Ólafur Erlingsson, Gunnar Helgi Kristinsson
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: The longstanding debate on whether foreign aid promotes development suggests that aid’s efficacy depends on conditions in recipient states. Advocates of gender equality argue that empowering women is desirable not only in its own right but also as a means to other sought-after outcomes. We bring together these issues and argue that women’s empowerment in aid-receiving countries should enhance the effect of foreign aid on child development outcomes. We find support for this argument in analyses of up to 107 developing countries from 1986-2010. Our results indicate that aid is associated with greater reductions in infant mortality where women are more empowered. Furthermore, we find that among the different dimensions of empowerment—political, economic and social—political participation has the strongest and most consistent mediating effect on foreign aid. Our work has implications for research on aid effectiveness, the consequences of gender equality, and the politics of presence
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Dragana Davidovic
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: Environmental taxes are argued to be the key to more effective environmental protection in developing countries. This paper investigates whether such taxes have the necessary public support to be successfully implemented in different contexts, including countries outside the Western and European spheres. Applying a multilevel analysis approach, using data from the World Values Survey and International Social Survey Programme, interaction effects between values, political and social trust, and perceived quality of government (QoG) are explored. It is hypothesized that if people lack trust in public authorities to implement green taxes in an efficient, fair and uncorrupt manner, they will be less likely to support such taxes despite their strong pro-environmental values or trust in other people. The results show that people holding green values are more likely to support environmental taxes if they live in countries with high levels of QoG. Moreover, the effect of social trust on support for green taxes appears to be contingent on individual-level political trust rather than the quality of government institutions. These interactions need further exploration since they vary across countries and datasets. While support for environmental taxes is found to be relatively high in some developing countries, public aversion towards higher taxes for environmental protection is still relatively high internationally.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Monika Bauhr, Nicholas Charron
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: What factors explain public support for international redistribution? While the European Union has sent billions of taxpayers’ money to over indebted euro countries in an attempt to avoid an economic collapse, these transfers have encountered fierce resistance among both donor and recipient constituents. However, we know surprisingly little about why citizens support or oppose redistribution within the EU. This paper suggests that domestic levels of corruption and institutional quality may be one of the most important explanations for the great variation in public support for financial assistance and aid. Using recent European Elections Survey data merged with data on regional level quality of government, we show that the effects of institutional quality are consistently stronger than macro-economic factors, including economic development, inequality or levels of public debt. We find strong evidence that citizens’ in low corrupt contexts are more likely to support financial assistance to fellow member states. The results have implications for future challenges in securing public support for EU economic integration as well as for our understanding of how and why corruption undermines society’s collective action capacity
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Frida Boräng, Sverker Jagers, Marina Povitkina
  • Publication Date: 11-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Quality of Government Institute. University of Gothenburg.
  • Abstract: One of the central questions in research on the drivers behind public good provision is how political regimes and institutions impact the provision of public goods. Previous research within this field has shown that democratic history is positively related to public good provision, including the universal provision of reliable electricity. In this paper, we elaborate on these findings by investigat ing how corruption interacts with democratic history in shaping electricity provision. It is argued that since corruption can shape the implementation process of public policies as well as the policy choices, high levels of corruption are likely to limit the positive effect of democratic experience. Following Min (2015), we measure electricity provision by the share of population living in unlit areas. We find that democratic history leads to higher electrification rates only when corruption is relatively low. In high-corrupt contexts, however, the positive effect of democratic history is absent.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democracy, Political and institutional effectiveness
  • Political Geography: Global Focus