The State of Access

The State of Access: Success and Failure of Democracies to Create Equal Opportunities

Jorrit de Jong
Gowher Rizvi
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7864/j.ctt127zm5
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  • Book Info
    The State of Access
    Book Description:

    This book documents a worrisome gap between principles and practice in democratic governance. The State of Access is a comparative, cross-disciplinary exploration of the ways in which democratic institutions fail or succeed to create the equal opportunities that they have promised to deliver to the people they serve. In theory, rules and regulations may formally guarantee access to democratic processes, public services, and justice. But reality routinely disappoints, for a number of reasons -exclusionary policymaking, insufficient attention to minorities, underfunded institutions, inflexible bureaucracies. The State of Access helps close the gap between the potential and performance in democratic governance.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-0176-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. PART I ACCESS AND THE STATE

    • 1 The Castle and the Village: The Many Faces of Limited Access
      (pp. 3-34)
      JORRIT DE JONG and GOWHER RIZVI

      No author in world literature has done more to give shape to the nightmarish challenges posed to access by modern bureaucracies than Franz Kafka. In his novelThe Castle, “K.,” a land surveyor, arrives in a village ruled by a castle on a hill (see Kafka 1998). He is under the impression that he is to report for duty to a castle authority. As a result of a bureaucratic mix-up in communications between the castle officials and the villagers, K. is stuck in the village at the foot of the hill and fails to gain access to the authorities. The...

  5. PART II ACCESS TO POLITICAL DECISIONMAKING

    • 2 Toward Participatory Inclusion: A Gender Analysis of Community Forestry in South Asia
      (pp. 37-70)
      BINA AGARWAL

      Central to the idea of people’s participation in development, however diverse and contested its definition and scope, is inclusiveness—the inclusion in decisionmaking of those most affected by the proposed intervention. There is also an emerging consensus that effective governance requires people’s involvement not just as individuals but also as a collectivity, such as a village community. We are thus seeing an increasing emphasis on community participation through group formation in all forms of development interventions and local governance initiatives. Indeed, for managing natural resources such as forests and water, devolving greater power to village communities is now widely accepted...

    • 3 Access to Government in Eastern Europe: Environmental Policymaking in Hungary
      (pp. 71-92)
      SUSAN ROSE-ACKERMAN

      In a democracy, politicians and other policymakers are supposed to be accountable to voters.¹ But even in a direct democracy, not everyone will agree on the best policy. Even after dialogue and discussion, citizens may disagree about what to do, so that states need acceptable procedures to resolve conflicts. Voting rules are one way to make public choices, but they may leave some citizens in a systematically disadvantaged position. The system may be fair in the technical sense of treating all voters equally, but substantively unfair if some are usually in the minority and seldom see their preferences prevail. Even...

  6. PART III ACCESS TO THE ECONOMY

    • 4 Economic Entitlements: Facilitating Immigrant Entrepreneurship
      (pp. 95-116)
      JORRIT DE JONG and PETER KASBERGEN

      “The rules are killing me!” exclaims Tamer Akgün, sitting in his sandwich bar in the western part of Amsterdam. It has been two years since the Dutch entrepreneur of Turkish descent first decided to start a sandwich bar, and he has been largely unsuccessful. Although the shop is beautifully furnished, well equipped, and otherwise ready to welcome customers, the doors remain closed. Akgün has been forced to pay rent to his landlord while awaiting official permission to open his business, draining his bank accounts dry as he obtained the required licenses. As he sips his coffee while sitting amid his...

    • 5 Appropriate Fit: Service Delivery beyond Bureaucracy
      (pp. 117-134)
      GUY STUART

      Bureaucracies, communities, and individuals are often at odds in standard service-delivery systems. Bureaucratic experts with a mandate from democratically elected legislatures have no time for the input of the varied communities and individuals they serve—the latter have already had their say through the ballot box. As a result, bureaucracies impose their expertly drawn up service-delivery processes on a citizenry that is then forced to comply with their requirements if they are to have a chance of gaining access to services. Or, in Lipsky’s version of the same conflict, the bureaucratic experts have no interest in hearing what those they...

  7. PART IV ACCESS TO PUBLIC SERVICES

    • 6 Revenues and Access to Public Benefits
      (pp. 137-147)
      MICHAEL LIPSKY

      There are no public benefits unless public authorities authorize funds to pay for them. This is the case whether the benefits are provided in cash, as vouchers, or as services. This point seems elementary, but the relationship between providing revenues for public benefits and providing access to public benefits is not straightforward. As I hope to show, the process of enacting revenues for public benefits influences the choices and decisions of administrators of public programs considerably beyond simply authorizing budget levels.

      A useful point of departure is the anatomy of the social compact. The social compact may be understood as...

    • 7 Bureaucratic Bias and Access to Public Services: The Fight against Non-Take-Up
      (pp. 148-166)
      ARRE ZUURMOND

      One of the basic questions of political science remains: Who gets what, when, and how (Lasswell 1935)? And who decides? If we abide by a dichotomy between politics and administration, then after the processes of policy development and decisionmaking there should be no politics left in a policy’s execution. This is where, ideally, we find the bureaucratic apparatus of the state at work, an apparatus that must functionsine ira et studio(“without anger or enthusiasm”), that is, without any personal or political preferences. Bureaucrats, like evenhanded Themis, the goddess of justice (who is not blind, only blindfolded), should provide...

    • 8 Providing Services to the Marginalized: Anatomy of an Access Paradox
      (pp. 167-188)
      ALBERT JAN KRUITER and JORRIT DE JONG

      Bureaucracies have problems with marginalized people, and vice versa. Even when assisted by adequately funded, well-intentioned programs with eager social workers, marginalized individuals typically have a hard time escaping from poverty and societal disenfranchisement. Quite often their situations deteriorate precisely because of the misdirected “help” offered by social or human services. The design, delivery, management, and accountability of these services are not compatible with the multiple, complex, and interrelated structural problems facing the marginalized. Families with behavioral problems, the homeless, the mentally ill, drug addicts, and unemployed and underage school dropouts all share at least one problem in common: they...

  8. PART V ACCESS TO ACCOUNTABLE GOVERNMENT

    • 9 Calling 311: Citizen Relationship Management in Miami-Dade County
      (pp. 191-206)
      ALEXANDER SCHELLONG

      In this chapter I show how Miami-Dade County, Florida (called Dade County prior to 1967), managed to make its vast array of services available to its highly heterogeneous residents and at the same time ensured a sustainable transformation toward a more citizen-centric government. I argue that a well-functioning system for citizen-initiated contacts with the government plays a crucial role in realizing citizens’ access to government services. These contacts provide governments with valuable information about citizens’ concerns and government performance. Citizen-initiated contacts to public administration are more than just requests for public services. They are a valuable mode of public participation,...

    • 10 Demanding to Be Served: Holding Governments to Account for Improved Access
      (pp. 207-226)
      ANWAR SHAH

      Despite significant progress on improving access to government services since the mid-twentieth century, access to basic services in developing countries, especially by the poor and other disadvantaged members of society, requires further concerted efforts. A few governments in developing countries may see service provision as an act of benevolence rather than of responsive and accountable governance. Adam Smith wrote inThe Wealth of Nations, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the banker that we expect our service, but from the regard to their own interest.” Taking this analogy to the public sector, how do...

  9. PART VI ACCESS TO JUSTICE

    • 11 Access to Justice in the United States: Narrowing the Gap between Principle and Practice
      (pp. 229-249)
      DEBORAH L. RHODE

      “Equal justice under law” is one of the United States’ most proudly proclaimed and widely violated legal principles. It embellishes courthouse entries, ceremonial occasions, and constitutional decisions, but it comes nowhere close to describing the American legal system in practice. Millions of individuals lack any access at all to justice, let alone equal access. According to most estimates, about four-fifths of the civil legal needs of the poor and two- to three-fifths of the needs of middle-income individuals remain unmet. Government legal aid and criminal defense budgets are capped at ludicrous levels, which make effective assistance of counsel a statistical...

    • 12 Legal Empowerment of the Poor: Innovating Access to Justice
      (pp. 250-272)
      MAAIKE DE LANGEN and MAURITS BARENDRECHT

      The relationship between law and development is both promising and troubling. In the early seventies a famous article declared the field of law and development studies to be in crisis (Trubek and Galanter 1974). Two decades later, after fresh experiences with bringing the rule of law to excommunist countries, some claimed that this crisis was continuing (Adelman and Paliwala 1993). At the same time however, from the late 1980s onward, attention to the role of governance in development increased, and as a consequence the functioning of the legal system in developing countries drew fresh interest. Economists started to uncover promising...

  10. PART VII THE ACCESS AGENDA

    • 13 The Dynamics of Access: Understanding “the Mismatch”
      (pp. 275-286)
      JORRIT DE JONG and GOWHER RIZVI

      This book is an exploratory attempt to develop a better understanding of mechanisms that impede access to government and public services and programs and innovative solutions that have improved it. In the introductory chapter we defined access as a “match between the societal commitment and institutional capacity to deliver rights and services and people’s capacity to benefit from those rights and services.” This definition describes an ideal situation—“a perfect match”—that may actually never occur. After all, both society and its institutions are continuously changing. Getting the access match “right” would require aceteris paribuscondition that cannot be...

  11. Contributors
    (pp. 287-290)
  12. Index
    (pp. 291-298)