Feb 15, 2023
Bo Rothstein is one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of Quality of Government (QoG). He was for most of his career professor of political science at the University of Gothenburg, in Sweden, with a brief tenure at the University of Oxford. In 2004, he founded, together with Sören Holmberg, the Quality of Government Institute, which has since become the world’s main research centre studying how political institutions of high quality can be created and maintained.
-> Apoie este projecto e faça parte da comunidade de mecenas do 45 Graus em: 45grauspodcast.com
Index (with timestamps):
(01:52) Introduction in English
(5:38) Why is democracy not enough to ensure quality of government (QoG)? | The case of new democracies: clientelism, nepotism, use of state funds for the party, particularistic policies | Vicious circle of low QoG (the case of South Africa)
(17:42) How can we define QoG? | Impartiality. Robert Dahl’s theory of democracy | The importance of a meritocratic bureaucracy and long-term planning. | Book: Organizing Leviathan, by Carl Dahlström and Victor Lapuente | Acemoglu and Robinson’s concept of «inclusive institutions»
(26:16) How QoG influences government legitimacy | A future paper by Jan Teorell | Relationship between low QoG and the rise in Populism. Cas Mudde’s thesis. | Mark Lilla on the success of Donald Trump
(33:27) The puzzle of China’s rise (guest’s paper) | Is it a matter of culture? | Is condemnation of corruption universal or dependent on culture?
(46:38) What outcomes is QoG more important for? | The effect of low QoG on social trust (guest’s paper). | Book (analysing social capital in Italy): Moral Basis of a Backward Society by Edward C. Banfield | Quality of governance in the private sector
(59:46) How can we improve democracy’s ability to enhance QoG? The role of transparency. | Book: Democracy for Realists, by Christopher H. Achen and Larry Bartels | Guest’s latest book: Controlling Corruption
My guest in this episode is Bo Rothstein, one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of Quality of Government (QoG). He was for most of his career professor of political science at the University of Gothenburg, in Sweden, with a brief tenure at the University of Oxford. In 2004, he founded, together with Sören Holmberg, the Quality of Government Institute, which has since become the world’s main research centre studying how political institutions of high quality can be created and maintained.
This was a fascinating conversation. We started by discussing the puzzle of why democracy is not enough to ensure good governance. This happens, according to Rothstein and other authors, because these two dimensions of the political system are very different in nature. Democracy refers to the input side of politics (how political power is accessed), whereas QoG refers to the output side, that is, the way that political power is exercised. So while democracy may enable voters to select politicians and policies that adequately reflect their concerns, that is not, by itself, sufficient to guarantee that those policies will be enacted effectively and without improper behavior.
This led us to the question of how to define QoG? One of the most influential definitions in the field was proposed by Rothstein himself, together with Jan Teorell, and defines QoG as having to do with the extent to which the government operates impartially. This concept is closely related to (absence of) corruption, but is broader than that. In practice, for a state to act impartially means that the use of public authority is not influenced by anything from bribes, political affiliation, personal connections, or prejudices based on factors such as race, ethnicity, or gender.
Rothstein’s idea is clearly persuasive (and he will explain it better than I). But other authors have proposed alternative definitions, which we also discussed. One of them is that of state capacity. Some authors point out that it is not enough that public officials act in a proper way. In order to be able to implement public policies, the state also needs resources, such as infrastructures, adequate information and a body of qualified and motivated civil servants. Other authors, such as Francis Fukuyama, emphasize the importance of bureaucratic autonomy, that is the extent to which civil servants are protected from pressures exerted by politicians. And there are many other related definitions, such as the idea of inclusive institutions by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson (which we also discussed), or the definition proposed by the World Bank which goes farther (perhaps too far), encompassing the capacity of the state to implement “sound” policies.
It was a fascinating conversation, in which we covered a lot of ground on the topic of QoG. We discussed the practical effects of bad governance for citizens, the link between low QoG and populism, the puzzle of China’s rise (despite its authoritarian nature and less than impartial government), whether condemnation of corruption is a human universal or depends on culture, the effect of QoG on social capital and the relation between QoG and the quality of governance in the private sector, among others. In the end, I asked my guest how we can improve democracy’s ability to enhance QoG. And he has, as you will see, a very clear-cut recipe for this. Hope you enjoy our conversation -- até ao próximo episódio.
Obrigado aos mecenas do podcast:
Francisco Hermenegildo, Ricardo Evangelista, Henrique Pais
João Baltazar, Salvador Cunha, Abilio Silva, Tiago Leite, Carlos Martins, Galaró family, Corto Lemos, Miguel Marques, Nuno Costa, Nuno e Ana, João Ribeiro, Helder Miranda, Pedro Lima Ferreira, Cesar Carpinteiro, Luis Fernambuco, Fernando Nunes, Manuel Canelas, Tiago Gonçalves, Carlos Pires, João Domingues, Hélio Bragança da Silva, Sandra Ferreira , Paulo Encarnação , BFDC, António Mexia Santos, Luís Guido, Bruno Heleno
Tomás Costa, João Saro, Daniel Correia, Rita Mateus, António Padilha, Tiago Queiroz, Carmen Camacho, João Nelas, Francisco Fonseca, Rafael Santos, Andreia Esteves, Ana Teresa Mota, ARUNE BHURALAL, Mário Lourenço, RB, Maria Pimentel, Luis, Geoffrey Marcelino, Alberto Alcalde, António Rocha Pinto, Ruben de Bragança, João Vieira dos Santos, David Teixeira Alves, Armindo Martins , Carlos Nobre, Bernardo Vidal Pimentel, António Oliveira, Paulo Barros, Nuno Brites, Lígia Violas, Tiago Sequeira, Zé da Radio, João Morais, André Gamito, Diogo Costa, Pedro Ribeiro, Bernardo Cortez
Vasco Sá Pinto, David , Tiago Pires, Mafalda Pratas, Joana Margarida Alves Martins, Luis Marques, João Raimundo, Francisco Arantes, Mariana Barosa, Nuno Gonçalves, Pedro Rebelo, Miguel Palhas, Ricardo Duarte, Duarte , Tomás Félix, Vasco Lima, Francisco Vasconcelos, Telmo , José Oliveira Pratas, Jose Pedroso, João Diogo Silva, Joao Diogo, José Proença, João Crispim, João Pinho , Afonso Martins, Robertt Valente, João Barbosa, Renato Mendes, Maria Francisca Couto, Antonio Albuquerque, Ana Sousa Amorim, Francisco Santos, Lara Luís, Manuel Martins, Macaco Quitado, Paulo Ferreira, Diogo Rombo, Francisco Manuel Reis, Bruno Lamas, Daniel Almeida, Patrícia Esquível , Diogo Silva, Luis Gomes, Cesar Correia, Cristiano Tavares, Pedro Gaspar, Gil Batista Marinho, Maria Oliveira, João Pereira, Rui Vilao, João Ferreira, Wedge, José Losa, Hélder Moreira, André Abrantes, Henrique Vieira, João Farinha, Manuel Botelho da Silva, João Diamantino, Ana Rita Laureano, Pedro L, Nuno Malvar, Joel, Rui Antunes7, Tomás Saraiva, Cloé Leal de Magalhães, Joao Barbosa, paulo matos, Fábio Monteiro, Tiago Stock, Beatriz Bagulho, Pedro Bravo, Antonio Loureiro, Hugo Ramos, Inês Inocêncio, Telmo Gomes, Sérgio Nunes, Tiago Pedroso, Teresa Pimentel, Rita Noronha, miguel farracho, José Fangueiro, Zé, Margarida Correia-Neves, Bruno Pinto Vitorino, João Lopes, Joana Pereirinha, Gonçalo Baptista, Dario Rodrigues, tati lima, Pedro On The Road, Catarina Fonseca, JC Pacheco, Sofia Ferreira, Inês Ribeiro, Miguel Jacinto, Tiago Agostinho, Margarida Costa Almeida, Helena Pinheiro, Rui Martins, Fábio Videira Santos, Tomás Lucena, João Freitas, Ricardo Sousa, RJ, Francisco Seabra Guimarães, Carlos Branco, David Palhota, Carlos Castro, Alexandre Alves, Cláudia Gomes Batista, Ana Leal, Ricardo Trindade, Luís Machado, Andrzej Stuart-Thompson, Diego Goulart, Filipa Portela, Paulo Rafael, Paloma Nunes, Marta Mendonca, Teresa Painho, Duarte Cameirão, Rodrigo Silva, José Alberto Gomes, Joao Gama, Cristina Loureiro, Tiago Gama, Tiago Rodrigues, Miguel Duarte, Ana Cantanhede, Artur Castro Freire, Rui Passos Rocha, Pedro Costa Antunes, Sofia Almeida, Ricardo Andrade Guimarães, Daniel Pais, Miguel Bastos, Luís Santos
Esta conversa foi editada por: Hugo Oliveira
Bio: Bo Rothstein is a Swedish political scientist whose research focuses on the quality of government. Rothstein held the August Röhss Chair in Political Science at the University of Gothenborg from December 1994 to June 2021. Bo Rothstein took is Ph.D. in Political Science at Lund University in 1986 and was from 1986 and until 1993 assistant and (in 1992) associate professor (docent) at the Department of Government at Uppsala University. In 1993 he became Professor at the Swedish Institute for Working Life Research in Stockholm and took up his current position at University of Gothenburg in 1994. In 2016 he was appointed to a Chair in Government and Public Policy at University of Oxford, from which he resigned for returning to University of Gothenburg in 2018. Together with Prof. Sören Holmberg he started the Quality of Government Institute at the department in 2004. Among his main publications in English are Just Institutions Matter: The Moral and Political Logic of the Universal Welfare and Social Traps and the Problem of Trust, both with Cambridge University Press. The Quality of Government: The Political Logic of Corruption, Inequality and Social Trust was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2011, Good Government: The Relevance of Political Science (ed. together with Sören Holmberg) published by Edward Elgar Press in 2013. His latest book is Making Sense of Corruption (together with Aiysha Varraich) published by Cambridge University Press in 2017. Rothstein is a contributor to the public debate and has published more than 300 op-ed articles mostly in Swedish newspapers but also internationally.