Governance: What Do We Know, and How Do We Know it?

Posted: 13 May 2016

See all articles by Francis Fukuyama

Francis Fukuyama

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Date Written: May 2016

Abstract

The term governance does not have a settled definition today, and it has at least three main meanings. The first is international cooperation through nonsovereign bodies outside the state system. This concept grew out of the literature on globalization and argued that territorial sovereignty was giving way to more informal types of horizontal cooperation, as well as to supranational bodies such as the European Union. The second meaning treated governance as a synonym for public administration, that is, effective implementation of state policy. Interest in this topic was driven by awareness that global poverty was rooted in corruption and weak state capacity. The third meaning of governance was the regulation of social behavior through networks and other nonhierarchical mechanisms. The first and third of these strands of thought downplay traditional state authority and favor new transnational or civil society actors. These trends, however, raise troubling questions about transparency and accountability in the workings of modern government.

Suggested Citation

Fukuyama, Francis, Governance: What Do We Know, and How Do We Know it? (May 2016). Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 19, pp. 89-105, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2779555 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-polisci-042214-044240

Francis Fukuyama (Contact Author)

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

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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