Is regulation scholarship in crisis?

Martin Lodge of CARR at the London School of Economics and Political Science has assembled a great group of papers on the question of whether regulation scholarship is in crisis given recent events in a number of countries. Gary Miller and I contributed a small piece that describes what our recent Cambridge University Press book Above Politics: Bureaucratic Discretion and Credible Commitment has to say on the matter. You can find the entire document online at this link.

New commentary for Osservatorio AIR

Gary Miller and I have written a short description of our recent Cambridge University Press book Above Politics: Bureaucratic Discretion and Credible Commitment. It is posted on the site of Osservatorio AIR, a center in Rome that specializes in research and studies on impact assessment, simplification, transparency, and participation as ways of improving regulation. The description can be found at

“Employee Satisfaction in Agencies with Merit-Based Pay: Differential Effects for Three Measures”

With Sungjoo Choi, now forthcoming at the International Public Management Journal. The abstract:

While many studies have sought to understand the association between merit-based pay and organizational performance, few have assessed the psychological wellbeing of employees in agencies with such incentive schemes. We show that employees in agencies with merit-based pay are less satisfied with their organization than are those working in agencies that do not implement the incentive systems. We also show that this negative effect is larger in the case of organizational satisfaction than for pay satisfaction or employee satisfaction with the job itself.

Please contact me for a prepublication copy.

New evidence about contracting out


From Spiller and coauthors in JELS:

We apply algorithmic data reading and textual analysis to compare the features of contracts in regulated industries subject to public scrutiny (which we call “public contracts”) with contracts between nongovernmental entities. We show that public contracts are lengthier and have more rule-based rigid clauses; in addition, their renegotiation is formalized in amendments. We also find that contract length and the frequency of rigidity clauses increases in political contestability and closer to upcoming elections. We maintain that the higher rigidity of public contracts is a political risk adaptation strategy carried out by public agents to lower the likelihood of success of politically-motivated challenges from opportunistic third parties.

New PAR symposium on publicness and universities

Derrick Anderson of Arizona State University and I have written the introduction to a new PAR symposium on publicness and universities. It’s now out on Early View. Here’s our abstract:

This introduction to the symposium on the institutional design frontiers of publicness and university performance summarizes the range of diverse intellectual and practical perspectives converging on the idea that issues of design and publicness are important for thinking about the future of higher education. Collectively, the articles featured in this symposium demonstrate that the challenges facing higher education exhibit assorted social, economic, and political complexities. Public administration perspectives can play a key role in understanding and reshaping our higher education system into a more responsive social enterprise.