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Marek Pavlík and Michiel S. de Vries

Abstract

In Europe in 2008 governments spent 36 billion Euro on sports subsidies. One of the main goals for spending public money on sports is to increase the participation of people in sports. Th e Czech Republic even spent more than average on sports. However, the participation in sports in this country lags behind the European average. Th is article investigates whether the way such grants are given can explain this. One of the outcomes of this paper is that transparency in the decision-making process in sports-grants allocation is lacking, resulting in many cases of fraud. Th is paper also investigates the merits of an alternative way of allocating money, which is, using sports vouchers as a tool for allocating public resources. Th e experience with that instrument is, although rare, quite positive, especially in reducing fraud. Although there is a lot of hesitance against using vouchers, the experience shows that this is primarily based on prejudice and unfamiliarity with this instrument.

Open access

Michiel S de Vries and Iwona Sobis

Abstract

Often a distinction is made between interpersonal and institutional trust, as the former is defined in terms of encapsulated interests, that is the idea that somebody will take your interests into account. Scholars have argued that this cannot be applied to institutions and that generalized institutional trust is therefore not a meaningful concept. This article disputes this reasoning by distinguishing this kind of trust in the governance of capital cities from such trust in non-capital cities. It argues that it can be doubted especially for the local administration in capital cities that they predominantly have the interests of their residents in mind when making decisions. The resulting hypothesis that residents of capital cities have less trust in their local administration than residents of non-capital cities is tested and confirmed through a secondary analysis of Urban Audit data. The analysis shows a significant effect in the predicted direction, which remains strong when controlling for the satisfaction with public issues, the respective region, and poverty of the respondent. The conclusion is that citizens in municipalities do know whether or not local institutions have their interests in mind when making decisions, which makes institutional trust equally meaningful a concept as interpersonal trust.

Open access

Bardhyl Dobra and Michiel S de Vries

Abstract

Regarding the effectiveness of privatization, two schools of thought are distinguished: a school in favor of privatization in general and a school that judges the success of privatization to be dependent on the institutional context. This article discusses the arguments of both schools and presents a case study on the privatization processes that did take place in Kosovo. The Kosovo case is a critical case as Kosovo was a post-conflict country with a deplorable institutional setting at the time it initiated the privatization processes. If privatization was successful anyway, this would make for a strong argument in favor of privatization in general.

The outcomes of the case study show, however, many unintended and negative effects of privatization in the Kosovo context. The conclusion, therefore, disputes the claim that privatization is beneficial in general, irrespective of the institutional setting. Instead, the article makes a plea for creating a favorable institutional setting before starting far-reaching transformations through large-scale privatization.

The issues arising from this article are important for policy-makers and international missions considering implementing similar programs to other post-conflict countries.

Open access

Iwona Sobis, Frits van den Berg and Michiel S. de Vries

Abstract

In Public Administration, it is taken for granted that reforms are initiated and conducted by leaders. However, one can wonder whether change is indeed always coming from leadership and whether the concept thereof as the driving force behind change and the panacea for all the problems encountered during reforms is not a bit overrated in recent literature. This paper presents the argument that it is not the leaders but the employees in the teams and working groups and the experienced organizational members in particular who are the real carriers of reforms. It goes through the recent and older theoretical literature as well as through known empirical research regarding the matter and suggests that mainly co-workers are able to provide reform in terms of content, direction and practical solutions. The conclusion is that leadership is indeed an overrated factor in explaining reforms. The emphasis on leadership disregards an old-fashioned but perhaps still relevant concept, namely that working groups / project teams are oft en self-regulating, despite what leaders believe. Although empirical research taking organizational tenure into account is scarce and scattered, there is some evidence that the communities of practice are important for conserving, changing and developing organizational values and norms.

In consequence, theorizing about reforms and especially the implementation thereof needs to pay more attention to horizontal relations in the organization - the role of colleagues and especially the role of experienced organizational members.