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Call for Papers: Two Panels on "Policy Analysis in Local Governance". Conference on "Developing Policy in Different Cultural Contexts: Learning from Study, Learning from Experience"

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IPSA Research Committee on Public Policy and Administration; The Croatian Political Science Association; The Institute of Public Administration, Zagreb; IPSA Research Committee 5 (Comparative Local Government); The Research Committee on Public Policy and Governance of the Russian Association for Political Science; The Faculty of Political Science of the University of Zagreb; The University of Zagreb

June, 10-12, 2011, Dubrovnik, Croatia

-Convener of the two panels:

Hellmut Wollmann, Humboldt Universität Berlin



Panel 1: Policy practice for local governance

(chair: Fred Lazin, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheva Israel & Washington University, Washington, USA)


There is a widespread interest in strengthening policy capacity in local governance, and this tends to mean a greater role for ‘policy analysis’. It tended to be assumed that this was a major component of good policy, and was less likely to be found in local government, for a variety of reasons – small scale, less-skilled staff, stronger local pressures, etc. The assumption tended to be that strong inducement from the centre was needed to nurture policy analysis at the local level – e.g. requiring local authorities to have particular sorts of plans, subjecting them to central norms, or even consolidating local authorities so that the new, larger bodies would be more ‘professional’ in their dealings (and use more formal analysis).

This has been the basis of a reform agenda in the liberal democracies of the West, and it might be expected that this would appear in the post-Soviet societies of central and eastern Europe, but many questions emerge. What are the ways in which people engaged in governance at the local level ‘do analysis’, and how does their practice relate to mainstream texts and reform prescriptions ? What evidence is there of the adoption and impact of reforms to strengthen policy capacity ? And is the concern to strengthen local government linked to the concern to strengthen civil society organisations and increase their involvement in the working of local government?

Panel 2: Evaluating in local governance and policy

Chair: Harald Baldersheim, University of Oslo, Norway)


The assumption that policy should be preceded (and followed) by some sort of evaluation has become a discourse in good standing in local government in “Western” countries, and also forms part of the reform agenda in the transition states on central and eastern Europe. There are arguments for evaluating the likely effects of policy before the event (‘evidence-based policy’), the actual impact (‘evaluation’), and the detail of service delivery (‘performance management’). The introduction of New Public Management-derived mechanisms for “management by objectives”, such as intra-administrative monitoring and “controlling” loops, has been seen as indispensable for modernization. Local authorities were urged to make greater use of evaluation to strengthen their policy capacity and their managerial control. But there is also a particular need to give attention to what sort of evaluating might be most appropriate when the need is to recognize the validity of local knowledge, to strengthen the links between local authorities and their constituents, and to build up civil society organizations.

The panel welcomes papers from “Western” as well as from “Central Eastern/South Eastern” European countries in order to comparatively explore the trajectories and variants of the focus on evaluating in policy and practice.

Submitting papers:

Paper proposals for either of the panels should be sent to

Hellmut Wollmann, hellmut.wollmann@rz.hu-berlin.de

at the latest (deadline) by April 15.

If accepted final versions of the papers should be made available by June 1, 2011.

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