Volume 8 (2011)

Post-New Public Management under the Obama Administration: An Early Snapshot

Bruce Vlk

Most new presidential administrations come to Washington with an agenda on how to make the federal government work better. This paper examines what President Barack Obama has done within the context of public administration theory and trends. “New public management” was hailed as the answer to the ills of government almost twenty years ago. Some scholars claim that we are currently in a post-new public management age. Does the Obama administration’s management agenda fit these newer ideas? Is there a cohesive management agenda for the federal bureaucracy? Has there been a paradigm shift in federal public administration? Actions from the first two years and the 2012 budget proposal are detailed as well as the role of politics. Analysis of these actions suggests that President Obama’s pragmatic nature in federal government management does not represent a paradigm shift, but rather a transition period.

Internal Displacement: Violence, Public and Socioeconomic Policy in Colombia

Juan Esteban Zea

Internally displaced persons living in Colombia experience three types of violence. In this paper, I discuss how state and structural forms of violence reveal the current hardships many IDPs face as a result of the military, paramilitary and guerrilla conflict that displaces them and the socioeconomic policies that seek to resettle them. My analysis also shows that symbolic violence manifests itself through ‘othering’ narratives and practices, which affect how IDPs resettle in Bogotá. I highlight relations between institutions and individuals, show how public policy affects IDPs in urban centers, demonstrate how IDPs create new identities in situations of forced migration, and examine how IDPs experience symbolic violence.

A New Kind of War: Ecoviolence in Palestine

Ashley Bubna

Resource scarcity has been a topic of global discourse due to the gleaming effects of the oil crisis and global warming. Water, essential to life, is one of the scarcest recourses in the Middle East. This paper asserts that Israel is using the environment as leverage in order to maintain its control over the West Bank by denying Palestinians water. The four policy tools the Israeli government uses to commit ecoviolence include: denying water, prohibitively pricing water, destroying private water collections, and contaminating water. In the end, this paper will provide an overview of potential policy options the Israelis and Palestinians may consider to address the challenge of water scarcity.

Longitudinal Assessment of Racial and Socioeconomic Changes of Neighborhoods in the Detroit Region from 1970 TO 2000

Sangyun Lee

Since the publication of William Wilson’s influential book, Truly Disadvantaged (1987), many scholars have taken interest in the concentration of poverty found in US inner city neighborhoods which in turn led to the spatial concentration of underclass neighborhoods therein. There have been, however, few studies examining the process of neighborhood change in a single metropolitan area. Based on the study of Morenoff and Tienda (1997), this study examines racial and socioeconomic changes of census tracts in the Detroit Metro area. Relying on the Neighborhood Change Database from 1970 to 2000, this study finds that the number of underclass neighborhoods greatly increased after 1970. Furthermore, once they become underclass neighborhoods, it has been rare for them to become non-underclass in subsequent decades. Selective out-migration and residential segregation appear to be significant predictors of whether neighborhoods become or remain underclass. Policy implications are suggested based on those findings.

Slovakia and the Euro: How Slovakia Has Out-Paced Its Visegrád Neighbors on the Path to Economic and Monetary Union

Jill Carroll

Adoption of the European common currency, the euro, is a requirement for the twelve New Member States which joined the European Union in 2004 and 2007. The Maastricht Treaty imposes macroeconomic requirements on New Member States before they can replace their national currencies with the euro. The aim of this paper is to examine the political environment of the Visegrád states and to explain why Slovakia is the only country among the four Central European states to have adopted the euro. This paper argues that the political will to cut welfare spending and a country’s economic size have been the most important factors in determining when a Central European state will adopt the euro.

Harnessing or Squandering Potential? An Assessment of Education in Brazil

Erica Rosenfield

A major yet often overlooked impediment to development in Brazil is the national public education system. Although Brazil is on track to meet the second and third Millennium Development Goals — the achievement of universal primary education and the elimination of gender inequality in primary and secondary education—numerous institutional, structural and cultural barriers remain which hinder development and growth. This paper will argue that Brazil’s greatest challenge in educational policy relates not to quantity, but rather to the quality of education. Key systemic shortcomings that demand immediate attention include: administrative dysfunction, teaching deficiencies, low achievement and completion rates, and regional and racial discrimination. Impressive progress towards universalizing access has not been accompanied by quality improvements, causing high enrollment figures to deceptively suggest adequate attendance and achievement across the Brazilian population. After describing Brazil’s historical, political and economic context, this paper will outline the various weaknesses of the Brazilian education system and offer policy recommendations that effectively reorganize the bureaucratic structure of public education, improve teacher training, raise student achievement rates and reduce discrimination. These recommendations will help Brazil escape the educational stagnation that is preventing it from maximizing its development potential.