New publication about Information Processing in Public Organizations

Eva Ruffing and I have published an article in a volume titled „The Blind Spots of Public Bureaucracy and the Politics of Non-Coordination“, edited by Tobias Bach and Kai Wegrich. The title of the article is „Why Do Bureaucrats Consider Public Consultation Statements (or Not)? Information Processing in Public Organizations“

Our argument is that public participation in administrative decision-making is becoming increasingly common in democracies. However, we discuss a comprehensive public participation procedure recently introduced in Germany, and demonstrate that public participation has almost no effect on bureaucratic decision-making. Building on exchange theory and reputation theory, we argue that public organisations include only the consultation statements (with the pieces of information) that they need for their organisational survival into their decisions. This attention-directing logic allows public organisations to act on consultation statements. Without internal heuristics that structure the processing of consultation statements, public organisations would be paralysed by the number and ambiguity of statements. On the downside, this attention-directing logic creates blind spots in the information processing of public organisations. Thus, selective perception is simultaneously necessary to ensure that organisations can process information and function at all, and dangerous as it may preclude the processing of new and vital information

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Drawing maps of Germany with stata spmap – what about Bremen and Berlin?

Recently, I tried to visualize some data on German Bundesländer with the excellent spmap module. I had already done similar stuff with Turkish electoral districts, so I was confident that it would work with Germany. However, something was going wrong: The city-states Bremen and Berlin were drowned in the color of the state they are in (Niedersachsen and Brandenburg).

Simple example:

Germany shapefile from here, convert it to stata format following the instructions here. For the sake of the argument, generate a variable containing the length of the Bundesland name and visualize this variable:

generate test = length(NAME_1)

spmap test using germany_coordinates, id(id) fcolor(Blues)

falsche

Now, Bremen is a shorter name than Niedersachsen, and Berlin is shorter than Brandenburg, so both should be in a lighter color. But the polygon of Brandenburg overwrites the polygon of Berlin. Funny enough (and this puzzled me), this happens only if the color of the larger polygon is darker than the smaller polygon. If Berlin had a higher value than Brandenburg, everything is fine. That is why it took me a while to realize the mistake at all, because at first I generated some nice maps in which Bremen and Berlin have higher values than Niedersachsen and Brandenburg, and everything looked totally fine.

Solution: The coordinates file can contain a variable (that you have to add!) called _EMBEDDED in which you specify that a polygon is embedded in another polygon. So mark Bremen and Berlin as _EMBEDDED, and all is fine.

Article about Europeanization of participation regimes

I have co-authored an article together with Eva Ruffing about the German participation rules in electricity grid expansion. Germany has overfulfilled the European requirements by a huge margin, and in our article The Differentiated Implementation of European Participation Rules in Energy Infrastructure Planning. Why Does the German Participation Regime Exceed European Requirements?, we explain this puzzle.

Abstract:

The building of electricity grids is a major challenge of infrastructure planning. According to Directive 2009/72/EU, “ten-year network development plans” outline which grids are to be built. Regulatory agencies have to consult “actual or potential system users” on these plans. However, Germany exceeds these requirements and conducts three rounds of full-fledged public participation. Using rational choice and sociological institutionalism, this article argues that the over-implementation of Directive 2009/72/EU is due to two causes: First, the old German corporatist system of grid planning was dysfunctional. Second, there was a major discourse on public participation following the contentious railway project “Stuttgart 21.” The domestic implementation of Directive 2009/72/EU then opened a window of opportunity for advocates of public participation to implement their preferences. A comparison with France corroborates the argument that both conditions must be fulfilled to cause a major reform.

Article on varieties of capitalism and privatization

I have a new article out. In „Varieties of capitalism and privatization in a globalized world. How trade integration shapes the relation between type of capitalism and privatization“ I argue that the relation between varieties of capitalism and privatization is not unidirectional, but depends on the world market integration of economies.

Here is the abstract:

There is disagreement in the varieties of capitalism (VoC) literature about whether a large public sector is an institutional complementarity of coordinated market economies (CMEs), and hence, whether the type of capitalism makes a difference for privatization policies. This article introduces an interaction argument to reconcile both views: if a CME is relatively shielded from the world market, then a large public sector is an institutional complementarity, because it facilitates coordination. If a CME is integrated into world trade, a large public sector is a liability, because a cleavage between the export-oriented sector and the public sector over wage restraint emerges. A quantitative analysis of privatizations in the western OECD world corroborates the interaction argument: CMEs have privatized fewer sectors and sold smaller proportions of their shares in infrastructure companies than liberal market economies (LMEs). However, this only holds if CMEs are not highly integrated into world trade. If they are highly integrated into world trade, then the relation is reversed and CMEs privatize even more than LMEs.

And here are the replication data and the stata code (you need the outreg2 ado and the xtfevd ado).

Wenn Sie bei mir eine Abschlussarbeit schreiben wollen…

Wenn Sie bei mir eine Abschlussarbeit schreiben wollen, beherzigen Sie bitte folgende Hinweise und Ratschläge:

  • Abschlussarbeiten bei mir sind meistens empirische Arbeiten. Das heißt, ich möchte, dass Sie anhand von empirischem Material etwas Neues herausfinden. Das muss nicht groß und spektakulär sein. Aber ich möchte, dass sie selber forschen. Oder anders herum: Ich möchte keinen Remix von dem, was andere schon geschrieben haben.
  • Zentral für eine gute Arbeit ist eine gut hergeleitete Hypothese (oder mehrere Hypothesen). Diese ist der Dreh- und Angelpunkt Ihrer Arbeit. Die Hypothese sollte logisch aus der Theorie hervorgehen. Das Forschungsdesign und die Daten sollten geeignet sein, die Hypothese zu überprüfen. Und die Analyse besteht in der Überprüfung der Hypothese. So einfach ist das.
  • Das heißt, wenn Sie zu mir mit einem Themenvorschlag kommen, kommen Sie am besten nicht nur mit einer breiten Fragestellung, sondern idealerweise schon mit Ideen für Hypothesen. Und ganz idealerweise auch bereits mit Ideen darüber, wie Sie die Hypothesen überprüfen.
  • Es geht nicht darum, die Hypothesen zu belegen. Lieber eine Hypothese gut widerlegt als eine Hypothese schlecht belegt.
  • Thematisch betreue ich viele Themen rund um das politische System der BRD. Hier ist eine Liste mit Arbeiten, die ich schon betreut habe. Außerdem können Sie hier schauen, was ich so forsche. Arbeiten, die in diese Bereiche fallen, betreue ich besonders gern.
  • Methodisch freue ich mich über jede Arbeit, die quantitativ ausgerichtet ist und helfe Ihnen dabei. Aber ich bin methodisch breit aufgestellt, wenn Sie Vorschläge für gute Fallstudien haben, betreue ich die auch gerne.
  • Sehr empfehlenswert ist das Buch „Effizient schreiben“ von Thomas Plümper.

Steuert die Bundesnetzagentur den Netzausbau?

Zusammen mit meinem ehemaligen Göttinger Studenten Felix Julian Koch habe ich in der aktuellen Ausgabe von der moderne staat einen Artikel veröffentlicht, der die Rolle der Bundesnetzagentur bei der Steuerung des Netzausbaus analysiert. Die Frage ist, ob die BNetzA durch ihre Entscheidungen über den Szenariorahmen steuernd eingreift und Konflikte zwischen den Bundesländern über den Ausbau erneuerbarer Energien löst. Dies tut sie aber nicht, sie übernimmt meist die Ausbauzahlen der Bundesländer. Das heißt, im Sinne der Prinzipal-Agenten-Logik ist sie eher gebundener Agent und weniger freier Treuhänder.