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Bestuur in een low-trust context

De vicieuze cirkels in de hervorming van de Mexicaanse overheid

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 1 2019
Trefwoorden low trust, vicious circles, administrative reforms, authoritarian legacies, Mexico
Auteurs Dr. Rik Peeters
Samenvatting

    Since the late eighties, Mexico has experienced profound economic modernisation and political democratisation. However, the corresponding administrative reforms have lagged: professionalisation of the public sector, improvement of public service delivery and development of modern management principles are plagued by a lack of coherence, implementation, and continuity. This can be traced back to several historically rooted and structural characteristics of Mexican public administration, which reproduce vicious circles of low trust and dysfunction. For example, (1) the extreme spoils system maintains a culture of distrust towards civil servants; (2) Mexico’s weak state capacity is a consequence of a lack of collective action, but also further undermines citizens’ trust in government; (3) strong labour unions are a response to poor labour rights, but also uphold a system of capture and confrontation; and (4) corruption is inevitable if cooperation depends on personal loyalties.


Dr. Rik Peeters
Article

Consensus Democracy and Bureaucracy in the Low Countries

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2019
Trefwoorden consensus democracy, bureaucracy, governance system, Lijphart, policymaking
Auteurs Frits van der Meer, Caspar van den Berg, Charlotte van Dijck e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Taking Lijphart’s work on consensus democracies as our point of departure, we signal a major shortcoming in Lijphart’s focus being almost exclusively on the political hardware of the state structure, leaving little attention for the administrative and bureaucratic characteristics of governance systems. We propose to expand the Lijphart’s model which overviews structural aspects of the executive and the state with seven additional features of the bureaucratic system. We argue that these features are critical for understanding the processes of policymaking and service delivery. Next, in order to better understand the functioning of the Netherlands and Belgium as consensus democracies, we provide a short analysis of the historical context and current characteristics of the political-administrative systems in both countries.


Frits van der Meer
Frits van der Meer, Professor Institute Public Administration, Leiden University.

Caspar van den Berg
Caspar van den Berg, Campus Fryslân, University of Groningen.

Charlotte van Dijck
Charlotte van Dijck, PhD Fellow Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), KU Leuven Public Governance Institute.

Gerrit Dijkstra
Gerrit Dijkstra, Senior Lecturer, Leiden University.

Trui Steen
Trui Steen, Professor, KU Leuven Public Governance Institute.
Article

Access_open Do Characteristics of Consociational Democracies Still Apply to Belgian Parties?

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2019
Trefwoorden Belgium, political parties, party membership, political participation, political representation
Auteurs Emilie Van Haute en Bram Wauters
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Belgium has long been described as a typical case of a consociational or consensus democracy. This article aims at identifying whether political parties in Belgium share the internal characteristics of parties in consensus democracies: passive mass memberships, the importance of purposive and material incentives for joining, and representation of a clear subculture in the social and attitudinal profiles of their members and via overlapping memberships with related organizations. We mobilize longitudinal party membership data and party member surveys conducted in three different time periods. We show that pillar parties still exercise their role of mobilization and representation of societal segments, but these segments tend to become smaller over time. New parties offer alternative options of mobilization and representation, although not always in line with the specific institutional arrangements of consociational democracy.


Emilie Van Haute
Emilie Van Haute, Cevipol, Université libre de Bruxelles.

Bram Wauters
Bram Wauters, Research Group GASPAR, Ghent University.
Article

Transformative Welfare Reform in Consensus Democracies

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2019
Trefwoorden consensus democracy, welfare state, social investment, transformative reform, Belgium and the Netherlands
Auteurs Anton Hemerijck en Kees van Kersbergen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article takes up Lijphart’s claim that consensus democracy is a ‘kinder, gentler’ form of democracy than majoritarian democracy. We zoom in on contemporary welfare state change, particularly the shift towards social investment, and argue that the kinder, gentler hypothesis remains relevant. Consensus democracies stand out in regard to the extent to which their political institutions help to overcome the politically delicate intricacies of governing for the long term. We theorize the features that can help to solve the problem of temporal commitment in democracy through processual mechanisms and illustrate these with short case studies of the contrasting welfare state reform experiences in the Netherlands and Belgium.


Anton Hemerijck
Anton Hemerijck is Professor of Political Science and Sociology at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy.

Kees van Kersbergen
Kees van Kersbergen is Professor of Comparative Politics at the Department of Political Science of Aarhus University, Denmark.

    Civil servants at the Dutch authorities increasingly make use of behavioural insights in the policy process. These insights are primarily put on the agenda at the level of the national government in the Netherlands. However, they also seem to be particularly useful at the local level. After all, behaviour-conscious policy focuses on behavioural change through the redesign of the direct environments of citizens, and local authorities have a clear view and control over these environments. In the light of this potential, this article explores the current rise and institutionalization of behavioural expertise in local government. The work practices of local behavioural experts are examined on the basis of three dimensions of local government: positioning, practices and politics. The findings show that local behavioural experts are still in an experimental and start-up phase, but at the same time are already working with a wealth of behavioural assignments. In doing so, they deal tactically with scarce resources, resistance and abrasive institutional logics. The article shows that behavioural insights and designs are also promising in local government, that a local administrative landscape of behavioural expertise is already being developed; and that making meters in the field of behavioural expertise calls for several forms of coordination.


Joram Feitsma MSc
J.N.P. Feitsma MSc is promovendus bij het Departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap van de Universiteit Utrecht. Hij studeerde bestuurs- en organisatiewetenschap en filosofie aan de Universiteit Utrecht en de Washington University in Saint Louis.

    In Nederland komen tal van wicked problems (WP) voor. Ze worden ook wel aangeduid als weerbarstige problemen. Kenmerkend is het unieke karakter, het feit dat kennis over probleemaspecten beperkt is en verschillende perspectieven op een probleem en meerdere waardenoriëntaties een rol spelen. Naast cognitieve en normatieve complexiteit bestaat er ook nog sociale complexiteit. WPs zoals voetbalvandalisme spelen zich af in een beleidsnetwerk met tal van elkaar afhankelijke actoren. Kennis, preferenties, handelingsvermogen en middelen blijken gespreid en niet in de hand van één actor. Om toch tot een bevredigend resultaat te komen moeten de actoren gezamenlijk optrekken. Daarom is interorganisationeel netwerkmanagement en deliberatie met burgers een wenselijke responsestrategie. Bij WPs zijn actoren dus tot elkaar veroordeeld. Centralistische besluitvorming werkt niet. Een centrale actor kan overigens nog wel een rol vervullen als initiator, facilitator of regisseur van overleg en discussie; als arbiter bij botsende perspectieven; of beslisser na netwerkberaad en inbreng van burgers.


Arno Korsten
Arno Korsten is emeritus hoogleraar Bestuurskunde aan de Open Universiteit en aan de Universiteit Maastricht.
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