- Pro-competition Policy Tools and State Capacity: Corporatisation of Public Universities in Hong Kong and Singapore ( 305Kb)
Ka Ho Mok
Abstract: In the last decade, the higher education systems in Hong Kong and Singapore have experienced the processes of marketisation and corporatisation. Public universities are under constant pressures to restructure themselves to become more entrepreneurial and globally competitive. The principal goal of the article is to compare and contrast how and why governments in Hong Kong and Singapore have increasingly adopted more pro-competition policy tools, especially when indirect policy instruments have become increasingly popular in governing higher education in these East Asian Tigers. The present article also examines whether and how these Asian developmental states have really reduced their capacity in managing the public sector particularly when the “liberalising and marketising trends” are more globally driving their choices and options of policy tools.
Citation: Mok, K.H. 2005. ‘Pro-competition Policy Tools and State Capacity: Corporatisation of Public Universities in Hong Kong and Singapore.’ Policy and Society 24 (3): 1-26.
- Varieties of the Regulatory State? Government-Business Relations and Telecommunications Reforms in Malaysia and Thailand ( 379Kb)
Martin Painter and Shiu-fai Wong
Abstract: Discussions of regulatory reform in the telecommunications sector almost without exception take for granted the case for convergence. Pressures on national regulators to conform to liberalisation programs and to open up domestic markets so as to give free play to new technology investments seem to be inexorable, by many accounts. Privatisation, deregulation, re-regulation to strengthen competitive pressures, removal of barriers to trade and foreign investment and so on are recommended in varying mixtures as a common recipe. Institutional pressures, particularly international agreements, underscore these trends. They are associated in the literature with the emergence of the “regulatory state” as a global phenomenon. This paper explores the argument that there are varieties of the regulatory state, shaped by local administrative cultures and political circumstances, through analysis of the process of telecoms liberalisation and regulatory reform in Malaysia and Thailand. It is argued that the legacy of domestic policies and the interests that are entailed in them are major factors in shaping the mix of policies and instruments to be found in the fi eld, despite considerable convergence with the appointment of independent regulators to administer pro-competitive regulatory regimes.
Citation: Painter, M., and S. Wong 2005. ‘Varieties of the Regulatory State? Government-Business Relations and Telecommunications Reforms in Malaysia and Thailand.’ Policy and Society 24 (3): 27-52.
- Firm Accounting Practices, Accounting Reform and Corruption in Asia ( 413Kb)
Abstract: Despite rapid economic growth and assiduous efforts in anti-corruption campaigns, many Asian economies continue to be plagued with rampant corruption problems; and in a number of countries, the progress towards corruption reduction has stagnated over the last decade as measured by corruption perception indices. This paper focuses on the corporate sector as the main source of corruption problems in Asia, with particular emphasis on the impact that fi rm accounting practices have on the level of bribery. Using a unique cross-country fi rm-level dataset, we examine some distinct characteristics of bribery in corporate Asia, and empirically test the relationship between fi rm accounting practices and bribery. Our fi ndings suggest that better accounting practices can help reduce both the incidence of bribery activities and the amount of bribe payments, but conforming to high quality accounting standard alone will not necessarily enhance the quality of accounting practices and thus will not automatically bring down the level of bribery.
Citation: Wu, X. 2005. ‘Firm Accounting Practices, Accounting Reform and Corruption in Asia.’ Policy and Society 24 (3): 53-78.
- Beyond “Political Will”: How Institutional Context Shapes the Implementation of Anti-Corruption Policies ( 220Kb)
Abstract: Many anti-corruption initiatives face an inherent dilemma: the very actors which must adopt and implement policies to curb corruption are those which may face weak, or even negative, incentives to do so. Where corruption in authoritarian states is already endemic, a vicious form of this “orthodox paradox” emerges, as elites adopting anti-corruption measures attempt to police themselves. This paper presents an institutionalist approach to linking the context of anti-corruption reforms to their likely effectiveness and sustainability. It applies this approach to the assessment of Vietnam’s 2005 anti-corruption law.
Citation: Fritzen, S. 2005. ‘Beyond “Political Will”: How Institutional Context Shapes the Implementation of Anti-Corruption Policies.’ Policy and Society 24 (3): 53-96.
- Explaining the Myth of Public Sector Reform in South Asia: De-Linking Cause and Effect ( 281Kb)
Abstract: The states of South Asia initiated reform in the public sector for various reasons. At times, the impetus for reform came from within the systems while there have also been pressures from powerful external actors. Reform policies in these states neglected comprehensive analyses of the issues and the problems were exacerbated by the inability of the leadership to resist external pressures to guide reforms in certain directions. The policies were based on unrealistic assumptions about the needs and capability of the systems which only contributed to the perpetuation of status quo. Ambitious reforms plans were partially or minimally implemented. In the process, critical aspects were overlooked while power and privilege of influential public bureaucracies and other groups continued to increase. The overdependence of political leadership on a competent and permanent civil service and, in some cases, the military precluded any possibility of meaningful change through reforms. A second problem is the tendency to view administrative reforms as public sector reform. The administrative machinery and personnel constitute an important element of the public sector, but economic, political and social actors and institutions must also be included to make public sector reforms comprehensive. This article argues that public sector reform remains a myth in South Asia due to the neglect of establishing a clear cause and effect relationship in reform policies and formulating strategies without a clear definition of the public sector. Limited progress, however, has been achieved in some areas, but they do not add up to the scale of public sector reform.
Citation: Huque, A.S. 2005. ‘Explaining the Myth of Public Sector Reform in South Asia: De-Linking Cause and Effect.’ Policy and Society 24 (3): 97-121.
- India’s Crisis of Governance: The Women’s Perspective ( 315Kb)
Abstract: Post Independent India adopted democracy patterned on the British parliamentary system based on universal adult franchise. That India is a practicing democracy is one of its major achievements. However, one must not be oblivious to the incompleteness of this democratic enterprise, as women who constitute nearly half of the population occupy less than 10% of parliamentary seats. In 1971, a committee on the Status of Women was appointed to dissect the position of women. The report of the committee, entitled Towards Equality published in 1974, concluded that women’s impact in politics is marginal even though numerically they are the single largest minority. The committee proposed that each political party set a quota for women candidates as a remedial measure. As a transitional measure, it recommended a Constitutional amendment for reserving seats for women in municipal councils and panchayats, and that was done by the 73rd and 74th amendments in 1992. However, at the national level the Women Reservation Bill continues to be mired in controversy and inaction.
In view of the serious opposition to the bill the then Chief Election Commissioner in 1999 and some Members of the Parliament suggested that instead of amending the Constitution to ensure 33% of seats for women by rotation, the same could be achieved by a simple change in the Representation of People’s Act. Party wise representation has been the method by which most political parties globally have ensured greater representation of women in their national legislatures. However, in India, no political party, and even those who favour the tabling the Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament has initiated steps towards this direction in spite of their commitment to women’s reservation.
This proves that empowering women continues to be an elusive problem. Women find token representation in the political sphere and that the public domain, though not exclusively a male preserve, is surely dominated by men. There are two sides to the maleness of politics. At one level, there is the traditional patriarchal notion where politics is in the nature of a patron client relationship paralleling the father-son relationship. As a result of this, women are excluded from the material benefits that politics accrues and even if they inherit the political office, it is usually due to the absence of a male member. The other male aspect of politics is fraternalism seeing political experiences as expressing brotherhood of men.
The experiences of different methods of representation confirm the view that the best way to ensure proper representation of women and other disadvantaged segment of society is the proportional representation system. However, within the limitations of first-past-the-post system that India follows, significant advancement India’s Crisis of Governance - 123 is possible if all political parties widen their present narrow social base and secure wider representation of the under-represented and under-privileged. However, since the mainstream political parties are either unwilling or incapable to move in this positive direction the only option is a time bound state directed quota system that would immediately rectify this imbalance and prepare the society for more corrective measures in the future.
Citation: Ramaswamy, S. 2005. ‘India’s Crisis of Governance: The Women’s Perspective.’ Policy and Society 24 (3): 122-141.
- e-Governance : An Indian Perspective ( 449Kb)
Abstract: Much has been written about the applications of the advances in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to the field of Governance or public management. This application of ICT has brought about a new ray of hope, that of the potential benefits accruing out of these applications. India, even while carrying on with its stiff bureaucracy and a rigid governance structure, has been strangely at the forefront of this new development, especially among the South Asia nations. This paper attempts to showcase some projects that have taken off in the area of e-governance in India in the past few years. It not only analyses projects that have won accolades in the world forum but also smaller and relatively unsung initiatives that deserve attention at the both national and international levels. An attempt is made to address issues particularly relevant to Indian e-governance scenario, like relevant barriers, digital divide and above all implementation issues and challenges. This paper seeks to put in perspective the relatively less prominent issues such as paucity of multilingual content, standoff/stand-alone experimentation, and advocates the greater role for use of Open Source software in this arena.
Citation: Tandon, H. 2005. ‘e-Governance : An Indian Perspective.’ Policy and Society 24 (3): 142-169.