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Book part
Publication date: 6 July 2015

Sabine Kuhlmann

This chapter is aimed at contributing to the question of how institutional reforms affect multi-level governance (MLG) capacities and thus the performance of public task…

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter is aimed at contributing to the question of how institutional reforms affect multi-level governance (MLG) capacities and thus the performance of public task fulfillment with a particular focus on the local level of government in England, France, and Germany.

Methodology/approach

Drawing on concepts of institutional evaluation, we analytically distinguish six dimensions of impact assessment: vertical coordination; horizontal coordination; efficiency/savings; effectiveness/quality; political accountability/democratic control; equity of service standards. Methodologically, we rely on document analysis and expert judgments that could be gleaned from case studies in the three countries and a comprehensive evaluation of the available secondary data in the respective national and local contexts.

Findings

Institutional reforms in the intergovernmental setting have exerted a significant influence on task fulfillment and the performance of service delivery. Irrespective of whether MLG practice corresponds to type I or type II, task devolution (decentralization/de-concentration) furthers the interlocal variation and makes the equity of service delivery shrink. There is a general tendency of improved horizontal/MLG type I coordination capacities, especially after political decentralization, less in the case of administrative decentralization. However, decentralization often entails considerable additional costs which sometimes overload local governments.

Research implications

The distinction between multi-purpose territorial organization/MLG I and single-purpose functional organization/MLG II provides a suitable analytical frame for institutional evaluation and impact assessment of reforms in the intergovernmental setting. Furthermore, comparative research into the relationship between MLG and institutional reforms is needed to reveal the explanatory power of intervening factors, such as the local budgetary and staff situation, local policy preferences, and political interests in conjunction with the salience of the transferred tasks.

Practical implications

The findings provide evidence on the causal relationship between specific types of (vertical) institutional reforms, performance, and task-related characteristics. Policy-makers and government actors may use this information when drafting institutional reform programs and determining the allocation of public tasks in the intergovernmental setting.

Social implications

In general, the euphoric expectations placed upon decentralization strategies in modern societies cannot straightforwardly be justified. Our findings show that any type of task transfer to lower levels of government exacerbates existing disparities or creates new ones. However, the integration of tasks within multi-functional, politically accountable local governments may help to improve MLG type I coordination in favor of local communities and territorially based societal actors, while the opposite may be said with regard to de-concentration and the strengthening of MLG type II coordination.

Originality/value

The chapter addresses a missing linkage in the existing MLG literature which has hitherto predominantly been focused on the political decision-making and on the implementation of reforms in the intergovernmental settings of European countries, whereas the impact of such reforms and of their consequences for MLG has remained largely ignored.

Details

Multi-Level Governance: The Missing Linkages
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-874-8

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 May 2018

Nicolas Keuffer

The purpose of this paper is to investigate to what extent the initiatives of local governments to launch modernisation processes are facilitated by local autonomy, which…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate to what extent the initiatives of local governments to launch modernisation processes are facilitated by local autonomy, which is increasingly important in both the theory and practice of public policy and management.

Design/methodology/approach

Local government reforms are distinguished according to the institutional structure at which they are directed and local autonomy is assessed as a multidimensional concept. Drawing on a multilevel analysis of the Swiss case, this paper combines data stemming from a survey conducted at the local tier with secondary data from the regional tier.

Findings

The main empirical findings are threefold. First, when local governments undertake managerial or political reform initiatives, their autonomy with respect to higher levels of government matters. Second, it is not local autonomy but rather the perception of structural problems that is the force driving territorial reforms. Third, it is not the autonomy enjoyed by local governments vis-à-vis local factors, but rather the pressures stemming from that context that may lead to reforms.

Originality/value

By adopting a comparative approach to local autonomy, this paper shows that local governments which have sufficient latitude for local policy making are likely to take initiatives to improve service delivery in accordance with local preferences.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 23 April 2018

Eko Prasojo and Defny Holidin

Leadership for public sector reforms in Indonesia involves both national level efforts and leadership from local levels that have been empowered by prior decentralization…

Abstract

Leadership for public sector reforms in Indonesia involves both national level efforts and leadership from local levels that have been empowered by prior decentralization. This chapter focuses on reforms made by the national government, which has been guided by the values of serving public, increasing efficiency and becoming corruption-free. Although the National Development Agency and the Ministry for Administrative Reform provided central impetus and coordination, reforms were seen as quite fragmented across ministries with uneven results. The authors are concerned about reform effectiveness and sustainability. Reform leadership is challenged by human capital and legally mandated but inefficient bureaucratic processes and structures as well as challenges of public distrust and disobedient civil servants. The latter is sometimes dealt with by using patronage to insert allies for reform, and they take note of leaders gaining leverage from working across boundaries and jurisdictions, and by improving their authorizing environment. The chapter describes a strategy of leaders-led efforts that are cascaded through ministries through institutionalization (e.g., of policies) and obtaining support from successive reform champions at different levels and locations. The authors argue for increasing the number of ‘champion leaders’ who pragmatically, transactionally and successfully get subordinates to commit to reform efforts.

Details

Leadership and Public Sector Reform in Asia
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-309-0

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 4 August 2008

Milan Tung-Wen Sun

Although the “Administrative Reform Program” was initiated by former Premier Lian Chain in 1993, the comprehensive “Government Reinvention” programs which emphasized the…

Abstract

Although the “Administrative Reform Program” was initiated by former Premier Lian Chain in 1993, the comprehensive “Government Reinvention” programs which emphasized the notion of entrepreneurial government were proposed and implemented by former Premier Vincent Shiew in 1998, and similar reform strategies and designs have been followed by the DPP administration since 2000. Despite the continuity in reform efforts, full-scale reform assessment based on concrete empirical evidences is still difficult to be found. The proposed study attempts to evaluate the results of government reform in Taiwan's local government by focusing on one major question: Have local governments in Taiwan become “smaller and better”? This question will be addressed by looking at indicators in three areas: changes in the size of local government in terms of human and financial resources, changes in the level of corruption, and changes in citizen's evaluation of the performance of local government. It is argued that the progress of government reform at the local level is slow, and the tentative evaluation show warning signals.

Details

Comparative Governance Reform in Asia: Democracy, Corruption, and Government Trust
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84663-996-8

Article
Publication date: 1 March 2003

Johan R. Christiaens

This paper presents an overview of the current accounting reforms of two types of Belgian local governments from cameralistic accounting to business-like accrual…

Abstract

This paper presents an overview of the current accounting reforms of two types of Belgian local governments from cameralistic accounting to business-like accrual accounting. Similarities and differences between important kinds of local government accounting are explored by focusing on important conceptual issues. The examination reveals that governmental accounting is relatively new and that a number of basic accounting problems remain even after some years of experience. Apparently, there is the need for a user oriented accounting framework applicable for different kinds of governments instead of transferring business accounting principles in practice without any further study.

Details

Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1096-3367

Article
Publication date: 14 May 2018

Elona Guga

An attempt will be made to shed light on the course and pattern of the decentralization process by analyzing the historical development of local government and the…

Abstract

Purpose

An attempt will be made to shed light on the course and pattern of the decentralization process by analyzing the historical development of local government and the territorial-administrative reform of 2015-2020 in Albania and the factors that have been shaping it. The scope is to understand the impact of the reform elements on the subnational governments and in general their overall impact on the government. The purpose of this paper is to fill the gap in the existing literature for Albania and at offering some insights on the administrative-territorial reform. Furthermore, it will contribute to the current debate on fiscal decentralization in South Eastern European (SEE) countries and the public management model implemented after the last reforms.

Design/methodology/approach

The first section analyzes the historical development of local government reforms from the 1990s to today and will help to identify if there is instrumentalism advocacy. The second section explains the determinants of the local government’s fiscal autonomy in Albania of the period from 2003 to 2016. Three indicators are used as proxies for fiscal decentralization: the proportion of subnational expenditure over national expenditure, of total subnational revenues over total revenues of central government and the indicator of own subnational revenues over total revenues of the central government. The data from the budget and the revised budgets are then compared.

Findings

Despite Albania’s commitment to decentralize its government functions, there is still work to do. The territorial and administrative reform has not generated the expected results. Almost 90 percent of the revenues still come from the central government’s unconditional transfers. Therefore, the Albanian Government should build capacities and skills, and train the employees of each level of government that currently benefit from international assistance.

Research limitations/implications

The analysis represents a single case study on the territorial-administrative reform in Albania. Its implementation started in 2015 and it is probably too early to discuss outcomes. However, it might be useful to analyze the first results after a two-and-a-half-year period of implementation of reforms. Despite contributing to the existing gap in the literature, additional research will be necessary to better understand the decentralization process not only in Albania, but in all SEE countries.

Practical implications

It is necessary to first understand the lack of initial output, as well as the various challenges faced, in order to take the corrective measures on time.

Originality/value

This paper discusses in detail the reform adopted and the progress made by the Albanian local government units. The reform attempts to develop better relationships between the central and local governments and hence improve their service delivery, transparency and accountability. This paper is the first one that is attempting to analyze the initial output of the territorial-administrative reform of 2015-2020.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 31 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 November 2002

Andrew C. Worthington and Brian E. Dollery

Over the past decade Australian local government has undergone drastic change. The sheer pace of reform has made it difficult for practitioners and scholars alike to…

2370

Abstract

Over the past decade Australian local government has undergone drastic change. The sheer pace of reform has made it difficult for practitioners and scholars alike to document and evaluate these rapid changes and even most recent extant analyses are now dated. Given the urgent need to review trends in Australian local government, this paper examines the recent programs of legislative, structural, workplace and financial reform.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 15 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 May 2006

Marwata and Manzurul Alam

The purpose of this paper is to understand the process of accounting change in Indonesian local government. It sets to explore how various reform drivers with different…

2374

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the process of accounting change in Indonesian local government. It sets to explore how various reform drivers with different interests and preferences compete and cooperate in the process of governmental accounting reform policy formulation in a developing country context.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts a qualitative case study research involving semi‐structured interviews with the key informants within the institutional environment under which the local government organizations operate. This paper looks at the introduction of new accounting systems as a result of public sector reform in Indonesia local government by focusing on how the policy of reform was formulated. A review of related documents and regulations, as well as interviews with key informants, was conducted to gather information on accounting change.

Findings

The process of governmental accounting reform is characterized by rivalries and alliances amongst reform drivers. This confirms the political nature of the process of accounting policy formulation found in the extant literature of accounting policy setting.

Research limitations/implications

This is a case study research within the institutional settings of Indonesian government bureaucracy. Any generalization of the conclusions from this study should undertaken with care even though there are similarities between Indonesian and other developing countries as institutions operate differently in different countries.

Originality/value

As the vast majority of studies in the extant literature have focused, mainly, on accounting reform in the context of developed countries, this paper makes important contribution by highlighting accounting changes in Indonesian local government.

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 11 June 2019

Ruilong Yang

Over the past four decades, China has strived to make the market mechanism play a decisive role in resource allocation under the conditions of adhering to the basic…

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Abstract

Purpose

Over the past four decades, China has strived to make the market mechanism play a decisive role in resource allocation under the conditions of adhering to the basic socialist economic system. The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

On this matter, this paper proposes a three-phase transition hypothesis for the Chinese institutional change models, namely, a de facto path, which gives potential to a successful incremental transition of a centralized country from planned economy to a market economy, lies in the incremental transitions of the institutional change models from a supply-oriented model at initial reform to a middle-proliferation model and to a demand-induced model along with the gradual establishment of exclusive property rights, thereby completing the transition to a socialist-market-economic system.

Findings

The Chinese economic model’s unique connotation is the reason why the solution to this model often baffles both the traditional political-economic logic and western mainstream institutional change theory.

Originality/value

This hypothesis corroborates that China’s unswerving practice of economic reform has provided unprecedented opportunities and challenges for the development of economic theory. The Chinese model constitutes the source of innovation for the subject of Economics with Chinese Studies.

Details

China Political Economy, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2516-1652

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 June 1993

Jack Man Keung Lo

China′s market‐oriented reforms have brought about fundamentalchanges not just to its economy, but also to urban governance. Thereforms have significantly changed urban…

Abstract

China′s market‐oriented reforms have brought about fundamental changes not just to its economy, but also to urban governance. The reforms have significantly changed urban development from its previous pattern which was largely determined by decision makers within the central government. Reform measures have transformed the role, functions and processes of urban government and have made them a force to be reckoned with in the whole reform endeavour. Examines and analyses issues of administrative reform at the urban government level in ten years of economic reform since 1979. Looks at three aspects of the problem – the trend towards financial decentralization; institutional changes in local administration; and changes in the relationship between urban government and the local economy. Argues that there is an unfinished agenda of administrative reform that needs to be faced by the authorities concerned if the mighty endeavour of economic reform is to succeed.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 6 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

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