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On Concepts Of Governance: A Survey And Interpretation


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  • Antonio Bariletti

    (Department of Economics, University of Cassino)

  • Mariangela Zoli

    (Department of Economics, University of Cassino)


From the late 1970s onwards there has been a growing interest in the notion of governance both as an object of theoretical inquiry and as a practical solution to co-ordination problems in a wide range of systems. From a theoretical point of view, the spread of governance studies in many disciplines is generally seen as a consequence of the growing complexity of the economic and social-political environment. According to an increasing amount of economic and political theory, due to globalisation, fragmentation and complexity marking modern societies political and economic life has undergone a transition from “government” to “governance”, from “bureaucracy” to “markets and networks”. The debate on the change from government to governance is very inclusive and comprises different strands of research. As a consequence of that, the basic notion of governance is not precisely defined, even if a relevant attempt in the systematisation of distinct meanings of governance has been carried out by political scientists. Developments in theoretical literature are matched by increasing interest in governance as a means of solving co-ordination problems within and across functional systems. Important examples of such use of the concept include corporate governance, clinical governance, the governance of school and universities, urban governance, and so on. “Good governance” is now a part of the lending criteria of international bodies such as the World Bank and detailed indicators of what constitutes good governance have been developed. In short, governance is a multi-faceted concept that has multiple meanings and can be used into many different issues. A survey and interpretation of different uses of the concept is the main purpose of this paper. In particular, we focus on governance arguments developed by the economic literature. We argue that essential features implicit in the definition of a governance structure are relevant in outlining a framework of analysis that can be applied to specific co-ordination problems.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza, LUISS Guido Carli in its journal Economia, Societa', e Istituzioni.

Volume (Year): XVIII (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 ()

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Handle: RePEc:lui:rivesi:1826

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Keywords: Governance; government; public sector economics; institutions;

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