What is Governance?

22 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2013

See all articles by Francis Fukuyama

Francis Fukuyama

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Date Written: January 25, 2013


This paper points to the poor state of empirical measures of the quality of states, that is, executive branches and their bureaucracies. Much of the problem is conceptual, since there is very little agreement on what constitutes high-quality government. The paper suggests four approaches: (1) procedural measures, such as the Weberian criteria of bureaucratic modernity; (2) capacity measures, which include both resources and degree of professionalization; (3) output measures; and (4) measures of bureaucratic autonomy. The paper rejects output measures, and suggests a two-dimensional framework of using capacity and autonomy as a measure of executive branch quality. This framework explains the conundrum of why low-income countries are advised to reduce bureaucratic autonomy while high-income ones seek to increase it.

Keywords: governance, states, bureaucracy

Suggested Citation

Fukuyama, Francis, What is Governance? (January 25, 2013). Center for Global Development Working Paper No. 314, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2226592 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2226592

Francis Fukuyama (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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