Explaining why policies and political institutions change: a new article

Government and OppositionI’ve just published a new article on why policies and political institutions change in the journal Government and Opposition.  It is a theory piece, which will largely interest for academics who teach/research theories of public policy, that proposes something called neo-statecraft theory.

You can download ‘Neo-Statecraft Theory, Historical Institutionalism and Institutional Change’ here (or ask me for a copy).  Here is the abstract:

This article provides a critical examination of the contribution that statecraft theory, which has been subject to recent revision and development, makes to the literature on institutional change. It articulates an emergent neo-statecraft approach that offers an agent-led form of historical institutionalism. This overcomes the common criticism that historical institutionalists underplay the creative role of actors. The article also argues that the approach brings back into focus the imperatives of electoral politics as a source of institutional change and provides a macro theory of change which is also commonly missing from historical institutionalist work. It can therefore identify previously unnoticed sources of stability and change, especially in states with strong executives and top-down political cultures.



New Research on assessing British party leaders during austerity

David_Cameron_(28_January_2011)How have the British political party leaders performed during austerity? What is a fair way of assessing them? Dr. Jim Buller and I have recently edited a special issue of Parliamentary Affairs, based on a University of East Anglia workshop that addresses these questions.

The special issue includes our own article which further develops an approach for assessing political leaders and applies it to Gordon Brown

You can read more about this in a blog on Eastminster:

The Great Financial Crisis of 2007-8 created a political headache for leaders world-wide. It is considered by many economists to have been the worst since at least the Great Depression. It led to many leaders having to campaign for (re)election and govern with significant public deficits, stagnant growth and public unrest.

The headache was particularly acute for British party leaders. A banking crisis, ‘credit crunch’ and major recession followed. Gordon Brown was faced with the collapse of Northern Rock and a downturn in economic fortunes that could undermine his credentials for economic management, only months after taking office from Tony Blair in 2007. David Cameron and George Osborne, whose Conservative Party came to power in 2010 in Coalition with the Liberal Democrats, inherited a budget that many thought required tax rises, public spending cuts or both. They were also to govern during a continued period of turbulence in the international economic environment, especially within the Eurozone. Ed Miliband, elected as Labour Party Leader in September 2010, was faced with the challenge of forming an opposition to Cameron and Clegg, with his prospects for electoral victory likely to be affected by Labour’s newly tarnished reputation for economic management.

Read more here: http://www.ueapolitics.org/2014/07/11/assessing-british-party-leadership-austerity/