New book co-edited by Kai Wegrich examines modern state challenges

The Problem-solving Capacity of the Modern State: Governance Challenges and Administrative Capacities now available. 

In order to face the governance challenges of today and tomorrow, nation-states require problem-solving capacities. The collection The Problem-solving Capacity of the Modern State identifies these key competences within public administration and explores them in greater detail through the lens of concrete policy problems. Expert contributions focus on the capacities themselves; on specific policy issues such as infrastructure, sustainability, social welfare, and social integration; and on innovations beyond the state.

This volume is part of the Governance Report series, published by Oxford University Press.

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The early twenty-first century has presented considerable obstacles to the contemporary state’s problem-solving capacity. Among the many uncertainties, anxieties, and tensions, the cumulative challenge of fiscal austerity, demographic developments, and climate change presents the key test for nation-states. Debates abound regarding the state’s ability to address these and other problems given increasingly dispersed forms of governing and institutional vulnerabilities created by politico-administrative and economic decision-making structures. The Problem-solving Capacity of the Modern State provides a cutting-edge contribution to these debates.

This latest volume in the Governance Report series offers a cross-sectoral perspective that takes into account the aggregate nature of the contemporary challenge to governance and focuses on the key policy areas of infrastructure, sustainability, social welfare, and social integration. In addition, it considers innovations that have sought to add problem-solving capacity and explores the kind of administrative capacities (delivery, regulatory, coordination, and analytical) required to encourage and sustain innovative problem-solving.

This volume introduces a framework for understanding the four administrative capacities that are central to any attempt at problem-solving and how they enable the state’s policy instruments to have their intended effect. It also features chapters that focus on the way in which these capacities have become stretched, as well as how they have been adjusted.

Order a copyMore information on The Governance Report

More about Kai Wegrich

  • Kai Wegrich, Dean of Research and Faculty and Professor of Public Administration and Public Policy