The rise of ‘new’ policy instruments in comparative perspective: Has governance eclipsed government?

Andrew Jordan, Rüdiger K. W. Wurzel, Anthony Zito

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503 Citations (Scopus)


Governance is a term in good currency, but there are still too few detailed empirical analyses of the precise extent to which it has or has not eclipsed government. This article explores the temporal and spatial characteristics of the governance transition by charting the deployment of new policy instruments in eight industrialised states and the European Union. The adoption and implementation of ('old' and 'new') policy instruments offer a useful analytical touchstone because governance theory argues that regulation is the quintessence of government. Although there are many 'new' environmental policy instruments in these nine jurisdictions, this article finds that the change from government to governance is highly differentiated across political jurisdictions, policy sectors and even the main instrument types. Crucially, many of the new policy instruments used require some state involvement (that is, 'government'), and very few are entirely devoid of state involvement (that is, pure 'governance'). Far from eclipsing government, governance therefore often complements and, on some occasions, even competes with it, although there are some cases of fusion. Future research should thus explore the many complex and varied ways in which government and governance interact in public policy-making.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-496
Number of pages20
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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