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Open access

Michal Sedlačko and Katarína Staroňová

Abstract

In the Slovak Republic, a number of internal ministerial advisory bodies, intended to provide high-quality analyses and evidence based policy making for national policy, have been established over the last two years. We have studied how the rational technocratic model of scientific policy advice as a specific mode of governing, acted out through these new institutional sites of expertise, survives in a highly politicised environment of the Slovak public administration. Central to our study was the reconstruction of an intersubjective account central to the work of organising on which the analytical centres and their staff, as well as their patrons, participate. Complementary to this, we focused on intersubjectively shared elements of the analysts’ community and subculture within the dominant CEE public administration culture. The vision of governing with expertise shared by analytical centres rests on the principles of transparency, orientation on professional merit (primarily econometric, analytical skills), voluntarism, conflict avoidance, political opportunism and institutional autonomy. Analytical centres identify themselves as a distinct professional group – in fact, they form a distinct organisational subculture around traits such as demographic characteristics (predominantly young males with economic or mathematical/IT background), symbols, hierarchies, working culture, humour, as well as artefacts. Analysts see their mission in the provision of impartial, objective analytical evidence for informed decision making, yet they negotiate the boundary between politics and expertise on a daily basis, and, as we found, in numerous aspects of analysts’ work politics cannot be entirely bracketed.

Open access

Marian Cosmin Gabriel

Abstract

The process of administrative decentralization of the education system in Romania proceeded in chaotic steps. It was done under the pressure, on one hand, of the EU integration requirements and, on the other hand, of the local administrations who wanted more control over how their money were used in the schools and of the parents committees that wanted to have a say in the local schools. The road was scattered with new reform legislations coming with every change in government composition and ministers. The result was a combination of local autonomy and central control that had the potential to produce confusion and conflict. The multiple and complex blend of divided responsibilities and powers turned out in the process of setting up the new form or entry grade in the Romanian primary education cycle in a rational strategic play scholarly designated as anticommons. Each separated actor tries to obtain a maximizing share of the cooperatively generated benefit for a minimum possible cost. The interactions are modeled as a Game of Chicken where, because actors calculate separately, each selects a higher price/lower quantity position than is optimal, resulting in a lower net payoff both individually and collectively.

Open access

Maria Alessandra Antonelli and Valeria De Bonis

Abstract

Based on the construction of a composite index to assess the relative performance of welfare policies, we show that the variability of performances cannot be explained only by the amount of resources devoted to social policies, but also by its composition: countries with higher shares of social public expenditure, specifically aimed at reducing income concentration, obtain better results. This associates the traditional classification of the European welfare systems to the performance obtained in the social sector.

Open access

Željko Poljak

Abstract

The author analyses the transport policy of the rail sector in Croatia and tries to give answers regarding the policy stability and change based on the actors in the rail transport. The aim of the paper is to give an overview of the development of the rail sector in modern Croatia and to explore, in a larger period, the relations and beliefs of all types of actors in this area at the national level. As a theoretical background, the author uses an advocacy coalition framework, which states that policy actors are grouped into coalitions within a policy subsystem in which they advocate their beliefs in order to transfer them into government programs, thus provoking change and stability in the system. The author methodologically uses qualitative content analysis in the form of coding of the collected material based on transcripts of interviews with actors, official documents, and transcript of one parliamentary debate. Following is a review of the historical development of the rail sector in Croatia, with an emphasis on the post-independence Croatia period, which provides a basis for concrete research findings. The results are presented in two units: (1) identified actors and their relations, and (2) beliefs of actors. The follow-up discussion points to the existence of similar patterns of beliefs among the actors at the national level. However, the empirical material collected does not establish clear relationships that could be classified as an advocacy coalition. In conclusion, the author argues that the coded material does not give away any importance of the coalitions of actors at the national level for policy stability and change of rail sector leading to recommendations for further research in this area, where other transport sectors should be included as well as international actors.

Open access

Ivana Klimentová and Veronika Valkovičová

Abstract

The paper focuses on the discursive framing of drug users and sex workers as subjects of public space governance within the process of local policymaking. The core of this study analyses the non-governmental organisation OZ Odyseus grant application for a harm reduction programme and a subsequent debate of the Municipal Council Members of the Bratislava city district – Nové Mesto. The aim of the meeting and the debate was to approve funding for numerous social projects, including a fieldwork-oriented organisation OZ Odyseus, which provides harm reduction in numerous city districts of Bratislava. The analysis disclosed the application of specific subject positioning frames, which conceptualise drug users and sex workers as ‘out of place’, anti-social and not members of a local community. Results of the study point to the conceptualisation of (commercial) public space as ‘stolen from the normal people’ and the need for spatial segregation of sex workers and drug users in order to reclaim and revitalise it.

Open access

H.K. Colebatch

Abstract

This article offers an outsider’s perspective on the place of policy in the analysis of governing in Central and Eastern Europe, both before the change from a communist to a post-communist order, and since. It explores the way in which ‘policy’ is used as a construct in both the practice of governing and the analysis of that practice. It argues that we have to recognise multiple strands – authority, structured interaction, and collective problematisation - in the construction of ‘policy’. It points to a distinction between ‘formal’ and ‘practical’ perspectives, and argues that this distinction reflects structural tensions in the process of ’putting together’ the shared understandings and relationships which make g for ‘governing’, It argues for the importance of continuing research, empirically based and theoretically informed, into the way that governing is ‘put together’ in Central and Eastern Europe, and how both participants and the governed ‘make sense’ of this process.

Open access

Jan Kohoutek

Open access

Ondřej Dvouletý

Abstract

Empirical evidence related to the effectivity and outcomes of the self-employment programmes in the Central and Eastern Europe is still very rare, despite the important role of entrepreneurship in the economic development of post-communist economies. The main purpose of this study was to empirically investigate the impact of self-employment subsidy for unemployed in the Czech NUTS 3 regions for the period of years 2012–2015 to provide policy makers supportive material useful for policy adjustments. The study applies quantitative research framework, which is based on the construction of econometric models. Estimated regression models with region fixed effects supported the negative association between the amount of supported self-employed and unemployment rates in the Czech regions. This finding is theoretically framed by the theory of necessity entrepreneurship. Positive spillover of the programme (‘a double dividend’), was econometrically tested on the regional employment rates. Obtained estimates found that there is a positive contemporaneous relationship (weakly significant) between the number of supported self-employed and the employment rates but not in the lag. Analysis of the costs revealed that the costs of self-employment programme are not that high, if one takes into account the alternative costs of unemployment benefits paid to the unemployed and social insurance paid back to the state by the newly established self-employed. Therefore, this tool of active labour market policy has a potential of wider usage. Nevertheless, the applied empirical strategy was based on the regional level and has its limitations. Provided results need to be interpreted cautiously, without any causal inference, because the true outcomes of the programme could be analysed only on the level of supported individuals. Future research should therefore challenge the effectiveness of the start-up subsidy programmes in the Czech Republic on the level of individuals, with focus on the survival rates of subsidized businesses and incomes of their formerly unemployed owners.

Open access

Dmitry Zaytsev and Nina Belyaeva

Abstract

This paper evaluates the policy impact of analytical communities in three Russian regions (Karelia, Tatarstan and Saratov). Based on the existing methods to assess the political power of think tanks, the authors develop a method to evaluate this impact. The authors test this method using the empirical data and findings from interviews, workshops with representatives of analytical communities of the three regions, and from observations and assessments of experts in regional politics. In conclusion, the authors argue that the capacity of analytical communities to impact policy change in a region depends on the level of political competition and pluralism and democratic institutions in the region; the level of consolidation of the analytical community, its autonomous political status and authority.

Open access

Pavel Horák and Markéta Horáková

Abstract

The objective of this paper is to analyse and compare the design and governance of the contemporary childcare policy in the Czech Republic and Norway in relation to the situation of households with dependent children under school age. Following this, we review certain provisions of the childcare policies of the two countries, whose systems possessed certain similarities at the beginning of the 1990s, although they represent distinct types of welfare state. Our analysis reveals that the chief differences in childcare policy have persisted and adapted to the key features of the welfare regimes. The two countries’ central childcare policy values contrast with each other (equity and free choice in Norway vs. re-familisation and strong ‘family dependency’ among individuals in the Czech Republic) and exhibit differences in the structure and extent of policy measures, as well. Policies in both are less sensitive to the needs of children with specific needs (such as migrants in Norway or Roma children in the Czech Republic).