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This book explores and analyzes governance and policy issues in South, Southeast, and East Asia. It maps governance challenges and analyzes current trends from the perspectives of democracy, public policy, and public institutions. Regional public administration and governance systems have undergone some phenomenal changes over the last three decades and have played a key role in the economic progress of the area, especially in the Southeast and East Asian nations. Rich with country-specific evidence and analyses, the chapters in the book apply empirical and other research methods to examine shifting paradigms and best practices. This book develops an understanding of changes in the forms, process and practices of governance, both within the context of each nation and in a comparative perspective. The book will appeal to scholars, academics, students, and practitioners of public administration, political science, and policy issues.



1. Introduction

This book explores and analyzes governance and policy issues in South, Southeast, and East Asia. The authors map governance challenges and analyze current trends from the perspectives of politics and administration. Public administration and governance systems in these regions have undergone phenomenal changes during the last three decades and have played a key role in economic progress, especially in the Southeast and East Asian nations. The state has been the driving force for economic growth and social developments. Despite state dominance, in recent years other actors such as civil society organizations and NGOs, regional and local governments, supra-national entities such as the UNDP and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), and other multilateral agencies such as the World Band and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are increasingly finding space and setting priorities in policy making. The trend is now a tilt towards more network and multi-level governance. Rich with evidence and analyses, these chapters use empirical and other research methods to examine contemporary issues, trends, challenges, and best-practice paradigms. Their additional aim is to develop a greater understanding of changes in the forms of governance, both within individual national contexts and from a comparative perspective.
Ishtiaq Jamil, Salahuddin M. Aminuzzaman, Sk. Tawfique M. Haque

2. Governance in the Age of Globalization: Challenges and Opportunities for South and Southeast Asia

Governance and public administration are as old as human civilizations, which originated in this old continent of Asia. Both concepts have evolved significantly, from government and public administration to governance and administration or management today. Indeed, replacing or substituting governance for public administration has be-come a fashionable trend in academic as well as practitioner’ circles worldwide. This begs a key research question: “why ‘governance’ now, what about public administra-tion, and why they have become so important today in the process of governance now?” This is a question in need of serious investigation and analysis, a task beyond the scope of this paper—I have addressed it in another paper, “Globalization and Governance”, in which it is hypothesized that the concept of ‘governance is directly related to the rise of contemporary globalization’, “a process through which worldwide integration is taking place”, with public administration as a central moderator.
Ali Farazmand

3. Theories of Governance: South Asian Perspective

The chapter attempts to analyze the concepts of power and authority from South Asian perspectives, with primary emphasis on ideas and theories relating to governance models from the perspectives of Hinduism and Islam. The essence and basis of the moral state, according to ancient Indian Hindu philosophy, depends on the triangle of those actions for governance which are undertaken for universal welfare, maintaining and protecting each and everyone in the creation, and securing universal care for all. The Islamic system of governance, which is based on Quran and Sunnah, provides a broader conceptual and moral understanding and includes guidelines for rulers and the ruled. The Islamic perspective emphasizes universalism, the supremacy of Shariah (Islamic law), and the fusion or limited separation of powers. South Asian governance practices appear to reflect values of the two dominant religions of the region.
Sk. Tawfique M. Haque

4. Network Governance and Policy Making: Developments and Directions in Asia

Network governance is conceived of as horizontally organized social subsystems with sensibilities and rationalities that are expected to influence policy development and contribute to policy evaluation. In Asia, policy networks exist and operate within civil society in various forms, and they exhibit common or dissimilar attributes. Evidence suggests that notable breakthroughs have been achieved in some of these countries and in specific development sectors, but there is a lack of coherence and consistency in the way network governance works. Lessons from successful enterprises can be drawn and applied to situations where headway has been constrained by social, political, and bureaucratic factors.
Habib Zafarullah

5. Public Management as a Building Block for Governance: Drawing on the Experiences of Hong Kong

Developing countries strive for good governance because it ensures a number of features and arrangements that contribute to an effective and equitable system for governing. Despite substantial investments in resources and reorganization, the limited capacity of developing countries hinders the achievement of governance. An alternative approach could be to aim for attaining the desired outcome of governance by carefully designing and effectively implementing programs of public management with a limited scope, and by building the framework of governance gradually. This chapter discusses the case of Hong Kong in order to demonstrate that public management programs can serve as building blocks for creating a framework of governance; over time, the integration of these efforts can help ensure the benefits of governance without undertaking enormous risks by attempting comprehensive changes that may not succeed.
Ahmed Shafiqul Huque

6. Globalization, State Formation, and Reinvention in Public Governance: Exploring the Linkages and Patterns in Southeast Asia

While the existing studies on globalization widely cover the realms of economy, politics, society, and culture, the discourse is hardly extended to the domain of public governance. Although there are studies on the globalization or cross-national convergence of contemporary neoliberal models of governance - that is, the New Public Management (NPM) model and its revisionist post-NPM alternatives - there is a relative lack of research on how the globalization phenomenon itself has been a major cause of the emergence of such a neoliberal public sector management. In explaining the main causes of these neoliberal reinventions, most scholars highlight issues like fiscal crisis, state failure, and public sector inefficiency. They rarely consider how the dominant actors of globalization may constitute a major force causing the recent neoliberal transformation of the state and market-led reinvention in state policies and management. This article explicates these linkages - between globalization, state formation, and public sector reform - with specific reference to Southeast Asia.
M. Shamsul Haque

7. The Relevance of the Concept of Good Governance: Revisiting Goals, Agendas and Strategies

Against the backdrop of debates on the relevance of good governance, this chapter examines the goals, agendas and implementation strategies of governance. First, it traces the evolution of the concept of good governance. According to proponents of good governance, the most important goal of governance is to stimulate economic development. Second, it examines the relationship between good governance and economic growth. In this connection, special emphasis is on the experiences of China, India and Bangladesh. Finally, it analyzes agendas and strategies for good governance.
Akbar Ali Khan

8. Good Governance and Human Development in Developing Countries, with Special Reference to South Asia

The developing countries of the world continuously face challenges of economic growth, political and human development. One of the ways to achieve economic, political and human development is good governance. The ultimate purpose of good governance is an improvement in human development. Without an improvement in human development, the objectives of good governance cannot be achieved. The emphasis on good governance has been the focus since the World Bank introduced the concept in 1989. The World Bank and other major donor institutions like the European Union (EU), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the United Nations (UN) considered good governance as a criterion for development aids. With the use of World Bank data on good governance and UNDP data on human development in developing countries, this paper seeks to analyze the relationship between good governance and human development. To assess the relationship, I will use regression analysis to determine the important variables affecting human development. The paper will also analyze the status of human development and good governance in South Asia based on World Bank data.
Haroon Khan

9. Key Issues in Women’s Representation in Bureaucracy: Lessons from South Asia

This chapter discusses the position of women in the civil services in South Asia (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh). The majority of women are in lower level positions. It is rare to find women in higher and mid-level positions and in professional and administrative occupations. Despite constitutional guarantees and other governmental initiatives to remove gender discrimination from the civil services of these countries, women continue to fight against a variety of odds to attain career success. The objective of this chapter is to make a comparative analysis of the factors accounting for the successful advancement of women in top positions in the civil services of these three countries, and to analyze factors that may impede women from making more progress. A cultural approach has been adopted in this study, emphasizing that the social contexts within which institutions operate shape the manner in which institutions behave and act. Based on extensive fieldwork, the study maps female civil servants opinions on a number of factors that impede their career prospects in the civil service. In the conclusion, some policy recommendations are made as a way to address the issue.
Syeda Lasna Kabir

10. Citizens’ Trust in Public and Political Institutions in Bangladesh and Nepal

This paper has two major objectives. First, we try to analyze the level of citizens’ trust in public institutions in two countries—Bangladesh and Nepal. Second, we ask: What explains variations in institutional trust in these countries? We carry out analyses at the country level to show within-country and cross-country variations. The dependent variable is citizens’ assessment of institutional trust measured by confidence in a number of institutions. Two clusters of independent variables are assumed to influence citizens’ perceptions of trust. These are social capital measured as (1) generalized trust and (2) membership in different associations, and quality of government measured by (1) performance of public institutions, (2) how well they address a number of complex (so-called wicked) societal issues (human security, poverty, corruption, etc.), and (3) the trustworthiness of public officials, which is measured by their impartiality, friendliness, helpfulness, less indulgence in corrupt practices, etc. We analyze data derived from surveys we, the authors, carried out as part of a collaborative project in Nepal in 2008 and in Bangladesh in 2009, on the topic of citizens’ trust in public institutions.
Ishtiaq Jamil, Steinar Askvik

11. Constructing Co-Governance Between Government and Civil Society: An Institutional Approach to Collaboration

This aim of this paper is to analyze how civil society organizations (CSOs) in developed and developing countries collaborate with governments through institutional processes. The concept of co-governance suggests that such collaboration can improve a government’s effectiveness. The vertical structures employed by the state and the horizontal structures embraced by civil society are forging collaborative relationships. Scholars of natural resource management argue that co-management involving public, civic, and private actors is crucial in directing development.
Yutaka Tsujinaka, Shakil Ahmed, Yohei Kobashi

12. The Reform of Public Service Units in China: A Decentralization Approach

Public Service Units (PSUs) are government-run, non-enterprise organizations that deliver public services to citizens. They are the third target in the transformation of China’s system of governance, after state-owned enterprises and administrative organs. Although the restructuring of PSUs has been carried out since the mid-1980s, efforts have faltered. This chapter presents an overview of the various rounds of PSU reform. It examines factors that influence the process of decentralization and points out major challenges that must be addressed in order for the Chinese government to continue decentralizing PSUs for better public service provision.
Mei Li

13. Dynamics of Public Policy: Determinants of Policymaking and Implementation in Bangladesh

Socio-economic development achievements in Bangladesh have been characterized as a development paradox. The policymaking process in Bangladesh is seen as the outcome of incentives created by patronage politics as opposed to the compulsion for the government to play an effective developmental role. A number of factors strongly affect the public policy formulation and implementation process—factors such as the assistance and extent of pressure and persuasion from international development partners, and the capacity to mobilize and manage resources. The political commitment at the highest level is found to be the most critical determinant element of policy formulation and implementation in Bangladesh.
Salahuddin M. Aminuzzaman

14. The Purposeful Destruction of State Capacity in Bihar, India

This chapter explores such a case of the intentional weakening of some aspects of state capacity by political insiders. It deals with techniques of ruling pursued by Lalu Prasad Yadav while he was de jure or de facto Chief Minister of the Indian State of Bihar over most of the 15 year period from 1990 to 2005. The worsening situation under his rule was at the time widely misunderstood as an exacerbation of problems that were deeply rooted in the history and public institutions of Bihar. We show that this was not the case. The deterioration in governance under Lalu Prasad was principally the result of conscious decisions to weaken the state apparatus as a means of pursuing electoral goals.This chapter explores the case of the intentional weakening of some aspects of state capacity by political insiders. It deals with techniques of ruling pursued by Lalu Prasad Yadav while he was de jure or de facto Chief Minister of the Indian State of Bihar over most of the 15 year period from 1990 to 2005. The worsening situation under his rule was at the time widely misunderstood as an exacerbation of problems that were deeply rooted in the history and public institutions of Bihar. We show that this was not the case. The deterioration in governance under Lalu Prasad was principally the result of conscious decisions to weaken the state apparatus as a means of pursuing electoral goals. The quality of governance in Bihar improved radically after his rule ended with electoral defeat in 2005.
Santhosh Mathew, Mick Moore

15. Does Governance Matter in South Asia and Beyond?

The discourse on governance yields an unclear answer to the question of whether governance really matters in improving growth, not merely in economic terms, but also in improving the daily life of citizens, especially the poor. The first section of this article highlights trends in the theoretical discourse on governance, outlining attempts to define and assess the construct. Section 2 presents key criticisms launched against donors’ perspectives on governance: while critical voices suggest that the way governance has been pursued by external actors is heavily flawed, there is still universal consensus that good governance is sorely lacking in certain countries, particularly in South and Southeast Asia. Section 3 argues that in these regions, citizens’ civil liberties and political rights, government effectiveness, rule of law, regulatory quality, and anticorruption efforts have not kept pace with robust economic growth. Section 4 is devoted to summarizing what are perceived as the most interesting and critical observations in the book. Drawing on these and other observations from the first part of the chapter, the question of whether governance matters for the growth outcomes of developing countries is addressed. To make governance matter, there is a need for a tailored approach to governance reform—one that can maximize the impact and outcome of development.
Salahuddin M. Aminuzzaman, Ishtiaq Jamil, Sk. Tawfique M. Haque
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