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Sources of Rationalized Governance: Cross-National Longitudinal Analyses, 1985-2002

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CDDRL Working Papers, page(s): 46

August 2004

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We assess the factors affecting national administrative rationalization in the context of the current worldwide movement for governance reforms. Focusing on indicators of corruption control, the rule of law, bureaucratic effectiveness, and investment openness, we conduct cross-national and longitudinal analyses for the period 1985-2002. First, we find a modest overall expansion of rationalization in countries worldwide, with the most substantial changes occurring in developing countries and previously communist countries. Change is mostly on the specific indicator of investment openness. Second, we find that national change tends to reflect links with global society - expanded trade, the penetration of scientific logics, and embeddedness in world organizational activity play prominent roles. We conclude, then, that the rationalization of national governance, as with a good many other dimensions of modernization, is not simply or principally a consequence of endogenous national development or social complexity. Rather, it directly reflects international trade, and institutional linkages with wider rationalizing movements in the current context of a neoliberal world polity.

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