July 07, 2017

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Institutions and effective governance

THE role of institutions in the transformational process of good governance has been recognised by former president U Thein Sein. In determining the capacity of a regime or an administration to whether conduct effective governance, the role of institutions is the central focus of the institutional theory approach. To put it another way, the role of presidential institutions or that of the parliament in making the process of governance work within a state is the main focus of this approach.
In this regard, it is worth noting that scholars who are concerned with the institutional role in the governance process have raised major questions concerning the roles of non-majoritarian institutions like those of courts, bureaucracies and the central or federal banks. This approach has fundamentally engaged itself in seeking the ways to understand institutions.
It will be appropriate here to quote scholars like March and Olsen (1989) as saying: “Institutions are sets of norms and logics of appropriateness that provide guidance for the policy makers.” From this perspective, governance can be understood through logics being utilised to govern and regimes and norms being followed by the state in its attempt to govern.
Historical institutionalists view governance as path-dependent—the one that worked in the past would continue to work successfully in future, too. In their opinion, governance is largely inertial. Nevertheless, national-choice institutionalists opine that governance involves the exploitation of incentives for participants, and if it is attuned properly, governance will become a comparatively simple exercise.
Institutional question related to civil society is also a major concern of institutional theory in finding the best strategy for governing. Concerning questions such as whether to construct civil society organisations (CSOs) to improve governance, this approach lays stress upon the building of effective institutions to be able to effectuate improvement in the methods of governance.
Nonetheless, this does not necessarily deny the importance of CSOs in governance. According to their belief, such institutions are more flexible than that of the society. In fact, they can be structurally changed quite easily by the political leader. Society may, in that case, have more defences to change imposed from the outside.


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