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The Buchanan report and its aftermath: Implications for Irish regional planning

Abstract

The so-called Buchanan report, commissioned by the Irish government and published in May 1969, comprised a set of proposals for regional industrial development in Ireland over the period 1966–86. The main thrust of the report was the concentration of the great bulk of new industrial employment creation in Dublin and eight proposed ‘growth centres’. The plan provided for the creation of powerful planning authorities to oversee development in the regions. The government rejected these proposals and opted instead to continue with the existing policy of widespread dispersal of new industry. While meeting with initial success, this policy proved unsustainable in the long term. The paper reviews the implications of the Buchanan report experience for the regional planning process in Ireland, arguing that failure to learn from this experience served to undermine the National Spatial Strategy, with a similar fate likely for the forthcoming National Planning Framework.

Open access
Fifty years of urbanisation in Ireland: Structural and spatial evolution of the urban hierarchy since Buchanan

Abstract

In the fifty years since the publication of the Buchanan report, Regional Studies in Ireland, Ireland has transitioned from a rural to an urban society. Although a number of spatial plans have been introduced at regional and local levels, the growth of over 1.5 million people in the urban population has occurred in the absence of any strong national-level direction of spatial or settlement policy. This paper examines the nature of urbanisation in the half-century since 1966, by looking at the development of the urban hierarchy of cities and towns. Significant long-term changes in both the structure and the spatial expression of the urban hierarchy are identified, on the basis of which urbanisation is characterised as having been deconcentrated and decentralised. The paper identifies some implications of the observed shifts for contemporary policy concerns, and in particular the 2018 National Planning Framework.

Open access
Visions and plans for regional development in Ireland

Abstract

The evolution of spatial planning in Ireland, and more widely, has been a complex process in which many narratives have been explored at different times. In 2018 the government published the National Planning Framework (NPF) to guide and support the achievement of a challenging and potentially transformative development strategy for Ireland 2040. The NPF is grounded in a vision that sets out to be disruptive of what has become embedded as the status quo in political, administrative and planning decision-making. While it is a very innovative addition to the portfolio of government policies and strategies, it is not the first time that radical visions have been proposed. This paper reviews previous visions and plans for regional development that have been proposed over the last seventy-five years, and critically compares and contrasts the approaches represented by the National Spatial Strategy (2002–20) and the NPF (2018–40), including the subsequent draft regional spatial and economic strategies. The implications of the population projections and the proposed settlement patterns for the achievement of the NPF objective of effective regional development, which is expressed as a regional parity target, are closely examined.

Open access
Budget transparency innovation in the Czech local government

Abstract

Budget transparency innovations bring new extent and forms of transparency. The aim of the article is to explore the diffusion of budget explorers, that is, a budget transparency innovation extremely popular in the Czech Republic, and to evaluate their impact on voluntary budget information disclosed.

Careful mapping of the diffusion using a survey of budget explores in 72 former Czech district towns and media analysis shows that the key success factor was its convenience for politicians, as it is attractive, easy to implement and up-to-date demonstration of their transparency. Budget explorers are nowadays a standard extension to accounting software, and their usage is evaluated in several government transparency competitions.

The major benefit of the budget explorers is that they made for the first time publicly available detailed public financial information, changed the standard of best practice and drew some public attention. At the same time, they, unfortunately, narrowed the scope of the budget transparency debate by omitting the importance of the draft budget and introduction of performance measurement.

Open access
Consequences of Fiscal Adjustment and Public Finance Management. The Costs of Limiting the Fiscal Imbalance in Eurozone Countries

Abstract

This article focuses on the effects of corrections to the budgetary policy in eurozone economies. The goal of the text is to check if advancement in implementing modern tools of public management is helpful in the time of fiscal adjustment. We assume that the most important role of a performance approach in conducting fiscal policy is the ability of government to implement active policy meant as structural changes in the composition of public expenditures. In the case of the need to cut general levels of public spending, public sector managers who have knowledge of performance effects of public policies should be able to conduct fiscal adjustment in such a way as to minimise negative outcomes of spending correction on society. The structure of the text is as follows. First, we present some insights on the economic effects of fiscal adjustment. Then, we discuss the concept of performance management presented in the theory and policy agendas of international institutions such as the European Union or the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). Finally, we present the result of an empirical exercise that is designed to combine the level of advancement in implementing performance budgeting (PB) and the social cost of fiscal adjustment in eurozone economies. The most important finding of the research is that PB tools seem to have very limited usefulness in a time of fiscal adjustment. There is no statistical evidence that countries advanced in utilisation of PB tools conduct more active fiscal policy – approach of cutting all expenditures across the border by given percentage rather than looking at priorities and social outcomes of fiscal adjustment dominates in all cases.

Open access
Planning for resilience in the case of power shortage: The Swedish STYREL policy

Abstract

Modern society has developed a growing dependence on electricity in order to carry out important societal functions. This implies the risk of cascading failures to society in the case of power shortage. The creation of a resilient and sustainable power energy system is therefore crucial. Equal crucial is the preparedness for the event of power shortage. As a part of the Swedish crisis management system, the Swedish Energy Agency (EM) has developed a planning system, STYREL, to identify social important objects in order to ensure important social functions in the case of power shortage. This article examines STYREL as a policy network and as a planning system to ensure a sustainable and resilient power supply. The study focus on the design of the system, the implementation of the system based on the results from the two rounds completed in 2010 and 2014. Using interviews with coordinators at the local and regional level in three counties and a survey including all 21 coordinators at the regional level, it indicates that the design of the planning system reviles opportunities for improvements of the planning system. The study also indicates that the coordinators at the local level lack trust in the planning system depending on both the lack of resource and the lack of feedback. This in turn indicates challenges for the system from a resilient and sustainability point of view.

Open access