Governance

Efforts to Improve Public Policy and Programs Through Improved "Data Practice": Experiences in Fifteen Distressed American Cities"

Efforts to Improve Public Policy and Programs Through Improved "Data Practice": Experiences in Fifteen Distressed American Cities"
Public Administration Review Vol. 66 No. 3

Weitzman, B.C., Silver, D. & Brazill, C.
01/01/2006

Philanthropies and government agencies interested in children's issues are encouraging localities to improve the process of collecting, linking, and sharing microdata and aggregated summary statistics. An implicit assumption of these efforts is that outcomes will improve as a result of the new approaches. However, there has been little systematic study of these efforts. In this article, we examine efforts to improve data practice in 15 distressed American cities. Interviews conducted in these cities revealed variation in the types of information collected, dissemination, and intended audiences. We identify significant challenges to these efforts, including adequate resources, turf battles, technical problems, access to information sources, inconsistent leadership, and absence of political will. We find that little is known about the impact of these initiatives on decision making. Assumptions that improved data practice will lead to improved policy making have not yet been realized in these cities.

Financing Pro-poor Governance in Africa

Financing Pro-poor Governance in Africa
in Karen Millet, Dele Olowu and Robert Cameron (eds), Local Governance and Poverty Reduction in Africa (Tunis: Joint Africa Institute of the African Development Bank)

Smoke, P.
01/01/2006

Defines key lessons on financing pro-poor governance based on cases from Latin America, Asia and Africa (Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya and Uganda). The starting point for pro-poor fiscal decentralisation is that its major goals should be improved governance and performance, specifically, higher efficiency and equity in service delivery, economic development, and poverty alleviation. The enabling environment for fiscal decentralisation involves first the functions and the resources that might normally be allocated to local governments. Second, it can include alternative models and mechanisms to finance local governments, including intergovernmental transfers, markets, capital and donor financing.

Fostering Organizational Change Through a Community-Based Initiative

Fostering Organizational Change Through a Community-Based Initiative
Health Promotion Practice 2006; 7:1-10.

Kaplan S.A., Calman N.S., Golub M., Ruddock C. & Billings J.
01/01/2006

Program funders and managers are increasingly interested in fostering changes in the policies, practices, and procedures of organizations participating in community-based initiatives. But little is know about what factors contribute to the institutionalization of change. In this study, we assess whether the organizational members of the Bronx Health REACH Coalition have begun to change their functioning and role with regard to their clients, their staff, and in the broader community, apart from their implementation of the funded programs for which they are responsible. The study identifies factors that seemed to contribute to or hinder such institutional change, and suggests several strategies for coalitions and funders that are seeking to promote and sustain organizational change.

School Efficiency and Student Sub-groups: Is a Good School Good for Everyone?

School Efficiency and Student Sub-groups: Is a Good School Good for Everyone?
Peabody Journal of Education

Schwartz, A, Kim, D.Y., Stiefel, L. & Zabel, J.
01/01/2006

State and federal accountability reforms are putting considerable pressure on schools to increase the achievement of historically low-performing groups of students and to close test score gaps. In this article, we exploit the differences among the large number of elementary schools in New York City to examine how much schools vary in the efficiency of the education they provide to subgroups. In addition, we examine the extent to which observable school characteristics can account for the variation that exists. We find that New York City elementary schools vary in how well they educate poor students compared to nonpoor students and Asian and White students compared to Black and Hispanic students. The disparities in school efficiency measures between boys and girls are lower than for the other subgroups. There is no conclusive evidence about which school resources and characteristics are associated with more or less efficient education across all subgroups.

Separate and Unequal Care in New York City

Separate and Unequal Care in New York City
Journal of Health Care Law & Policy, Vol. 9, Number 1. 

Calman, N.S., Golub, M., Ruddock, C., Le, L. & Kaplan, S.A.
01/01/2006

Bronx Health REACH, a coalition of community- and faith-based groups, health care providers, and an academic institution, recently examined the causes of racial and ethnic health disparities in the southwest Bronx and identified separate systems of care for uninsured and publicly insured patients, who are predominantly people of color, and those with private insurance. We found evidence that patients are sorted into segregated pathways of care, a system of medical apartheid in which differential care contributes to disparities in health care and health outcomes.

The Tides of Reform Revisited: Making Government Word, 1945-2002

The Tides of Reform Revisited: Making Government Word, 1945-2002
Public Administration Review 2006, Vol. 66, No. 1, pp. 6-19.

Light, P.C.
01/01/2006

The past six decades have witnessed acceleration in both the number and variety of major administrative reform statutes enacted by Congress. This increase can be explained partly by the increased involvement of Congress, a parallel decrease in activity and resistance by the presidency, and heightened public distrust toward government. At least part of the variation in the tides or philosophies of reform involves a "field of dreams" effect in which the creation of new governmental structure during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s generated increased interest in process reforms. However, part of the acceleration and variety of reform appears to be related to the lack of hard evidence of what actually works in improving government performance. Measured by federal employees' perceptions of organizational performance, what matters most is not whether organizations were reformed in the past, but whether organizations need reform in the future and can provide essential resources for achieving their mission.

Preparing Americans for Disaster

Preparing Americans for Disaster
The Christian Science Monitor December 12

Light, P.C.
12/12/2005

As they ponder the final 9/11 commission report detailing the continued lack of preparedness among federal agencies, Congress and President Bush should also consider the parallel lack of preparedness among the citizenry as a whole.

Homeland Security's Extreme Makeover

Homeland Security's Extreme Makeover
The Christian Science Monitor, October 12

Light, P.C.
10/12/2005

As the Department of Homeland Security proceeds with its own recovery from hurricane Katrina, Americans have to wonder what, if anything, can be done to make sure the nation is ready for catastrophes such as earthquakes and terrorist attacks that come without warning.

Critical Infrastructure and Interdependencies

Critical Infrastructure and Interdependencies
McGraw Hill Handbook of Homeland Security, David Kamien, ed. New York, NY: McGraw,

Zimmerman, R.
10/10/2005

The McGraw-Hill Homeland Security Handbook takes a broad view of the challenges involved in enhancing domestic security and emergency preparedness. Our goal is to contribute to the discussion of this national issue and heighten readers' awareness of the importance of integrating policies, strategies, and initiatives across different areas into a cohesive national and international effort.

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