Citizens of industrialized countries largely share a sense that national and international governance is inadequate, believing not only that public authorities are incapable of making the right policy decisions, but also that the entire network of state and civil society actors responsible for the discussion, negotiation, and implementation of policy choices is untrustworthy. Using agro-environmental policy development in France, the United States, and Canada as case studies, Eric Montpetit sets out to investigate the validity of this distrust through careful attention to the performance of the relevant policy networks. He concludes that distrust in policy networks is, for the most part, misplaced because high levels of performance by policy networks are more common than many political analysts and citizens expect. Opposing the tenets of state retrenchment, his study reveals that providing participation in governance to resourceful interest groups and strong government bureaucracies is an essential component of sound environmental policies for agriculture.A timely and crucial contribution to the good governance debate, this book should be required reading for policy makers and politicians, as well as students and scholars of public policy, political science, environmental studies, and government.
Eric Montpetit is with the Departement de sciencepolitique at the Universite de Montreal.
Tables Acknowledgments Abbreviations 1. Introduction 2. Assessing Policy-Making Performance 3. Networks and Performance 4. France: A Shift from Low- to High-Level Performance 5. The United States: Performance in the Absence ofIntergovernmental Coordination 6. Canada: Stalled at a Low Performance Level 7. Misplaced Distrust Notes Bibliography Index