PAR Preview ▪ Issue 34 ▪ May 2014
PAR Preview is a monthly newsletter that calls attention to forthcoming articles in PAR. It provides brief summaries of content now available digitally in Early View, Wiley’s online publication system.
Does Ethical Leadership Matter in Government? Effects on Organizational Commitment, Absenteeism, and Willingness to Report Ethical Problems
Recent ethical scandals involving managers in government organizations have highlighted the need for more research on ethical leadership in public sector organizations. Shahidul Hassan (The Ohio State University), Bradley E. Wright (Georgia State University), and Gary Yukl (University at Albany) assess the consequences of ethical leadership by surveying 161 managers in a large state government agency and 415 of their direct reports, and obtaining personnel records to measure absenteeism. Results indicate that after controlling for the effects of employee characteristics, perceptions of procedural fairness, and supportive leader behavior, ethical leadership reduced absenteeism and had a positive influence on organizational commitment and willingness to report ethical problems. Implications of the findings and suggestions for future research are presented. Link to PAR Early View.
Commentary:By Hugh Weinberg (Association of the Bar of the City of New York) is available online. Link to PAR Early View
The Impact of Public Officials’ Corruption on the Size and Allocation of U.S. State Spending
Cheol Liu (City University of Hong Kong, China) and John L. Mikesell (Indiana University, Bloomington) demonstrate the impact of public officials’ corruption on the size and allocation of U.S. state spending. Extending two theories of “excessive” government expansion, they argue that public officials’ corruption should cause state spending to be artificially elevated. Corruption increased state spending over the period 1997–2008. During that time, the 10 most corrupt states could have reduced their total annual expenditure by an average of $1,308 per capita—5.2 percent of the mean per capita state expenditure—if corruption had been at the average level of the states. Moreover, at the expense of social sectors, corruption is likely to distort states’ public resource allocations in favor of higher-potential “bribe-generating” spending and items directly beneficial to public officials, such as capital, construction, highways, borrowing, and total salaries and wages. The authors use an objective, concrete, and consistent measurement of corruption, the number of convictions. Link to PAR Early View.
Commentary: By Rose Gill Hearn (Bloomberg Associates) is available online. Link to PAR Early View.
Local Government Responses to Fiscal Stress: Evidence from the Public Education Sector
Ashlyn Aiko Nelson (Indiana University, Bloomington) and Rekha Balu (MDRC) investigate local government responses to fiscal stress through the lens of the K–12 public education sector, examining two major policy options available to school districts for managing fiscal hardship: (1) cutting costs, especially through layoffs, and (2) raising revenues locally through voter referenda. The article employs district-level administrative and survey data from California and Indiana to examine whether school districts exhibit features of a rational or natural system—in which their behaviors largely reflect fiscal pressures only—or whether they exhibit features of an open system in which nonfinancial factors also shape responses. In Indiana, district fiscal characteristics explain differences in cost-cutting and revenue-raising behaviors; there is little empirical evidence that school districts exhibit features of an open system. In California, both fiscal and environmental attributes, including poverty characteristics, average student achievement levels, and the enrollment of English learner students, explain school district behaviors. Link to PAR Early View.
Revenue Diversification in Public Higher Education: Comparing the University and Polytechnic Sectors
Financial stringency has been an increasing concern in the higher education sector, especially in the aftermath of the financial crisis. As a result, public higher education institutions have been under increasing pressure to diversify their funding sources through tuition fees and other nonpublic revenues. Pedro N. Teixeira, Vera Rocha, Ricardo Biscaia and Margarida Fonseca Cardoso (University of Porto, Portugal) reflect on the institutional impact of those changes by analyzing a panel of 30 higher education institutions from the Portuguese public university and polytechnic sectors for the period between 2003 and 2009. They explore the relevance of institutional characteristics such as enrollments in undergraduate and postgraduate programs, the qualifications of academic staff, and the regional environment where institutions are located. Results suggest that certain institutional characteristics related to mission differentiation and the path of development of binary systems are important determinants of higher education institutions’ ability to earn income from tuition fees and other nonpublic sources. Link to PAR Early View.
Sonia M. Ospina and Rogan Kersh, Editors
Are the Arts the Economic Engine of Affluence?
Michelle Evans (Charles Sturt University, Australia) reviews Creative Communities: Art Works in Economic Development (2013) edited by Michael Rushton. According to Evans, Rushton presents nine diverse empirical studies on the economic impact of the arts. Employing new growth theory as a rallying cry, the scholars in this book cohesively argue that high human capital or talented innovators and intellectuals with great ideas stimulate economic growth. This theoretical positioning creates the foundation for the authors to address the pursuit of empirical economic evidence so desperately desired by the arts and cultural sectors. Link to PAR Early View.
Accounting for Accountability
Celina Su (Brooklyn College, City University of New York) reviews Open Budgets: The Political Economy of Transparency, Participation, and Accountability (2013)
edited by Sanjeev Khagram, Archon Fung, and Paolo de Renzio. According to Su, Khagram, Fung, and Renzio’s book goes a long way toward filling a gap in research and remedying the lack of policy-oriented, comparative studies of public budgets. The book aims to answer three key questions: the first concerns the emergence and sustainability of fiscal transparency and participation, the second explores which conditions and mechanisms lead to greater government responsiveness (including outcomes such as reduced corruption and better budget allocations), and the third asks whether greater transparency leads to greater participation. The book provides a framework for analysis; a cogent summary of the relevant (and admittedly limited) theoretical and empirical literature on fiscal transparency, participation, and accountability; and highlights eight country-level case studies. Link to PAR Early View.