Master students at the University of Gothenburg have an opportunity to take part in a courses that specifically explore different aspects of Quality of Government and the performance of democracies from a “governance” perspective.
The Quality of Government in Comparative Perspective
This course explores problems of the quality of government (QoG) and corruption in a comparative perspective. The background to this is the recent consensus among social scientists about the importance of high-quality government for economic and democratic development as well as for social and environmental sustainability. Government organizations that are trustworthy, reliable, impartial, uncorrupted and competent are currently seen as one of the most important determinants of human well-being. Until recently the "general wisdom" was that corruption and related phenomena (patronage, clientelism and cronyism) had many positive effects ("greasing the wheels"). New theories and better data have turned this argument around. Corruption is now seen as having detrimental effects on economic growth, public goods provision, the democratic processes and trust among citizens.
This course explores problems of the quality of government (QoG) and corruption in a comparative perspective.
Quality of government is not a problem of developing countries only, but exists also in economically advanced democracies where trust in government institutions and the sustainability of welfare programs have been questioned. The central issues that will be addressed in the course are: What is QoG? How can QoG be defined and measured? What do you get from high QoG and what are the mechanisms through which the effects of high/low QoG work? What explains the great variation between countries in QoG? How is QoG related to democracy, economic growth, the rule of law, social capital, inequality, social policies, and people’s collective and individual well-being? Lastly, for those who aspire to win the Nobel prize: What does it take for countries to change from low to high quality government institutions?
The Performance of Democracies
This course explores factors that explain cross country variation in democratic performance and their implications. More specifically, it is concerned with how institutional variation among democratic regimes is related to outcomes in general dimensions of performance, such as, human well-being, corruption and sound management of public finances, among others.
This course explores factors that explain cross country variation in democratic performance and their implications.
It therefore takes a ‘governance’ perspective, focusing less on issues that have to do with what democracy is, democratic transitions or democratic survival, but rather with why and how democracies ‘succeed or fail’ in the aforementioned areas. It also reviews the implications that follow for citizen attitudes and democratic support.