Measuring policy capacity through governance indices


Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters


While the conceptualization of policy capacity and its application to governance performance have been addressed in the academic literature, existing governance indices appear not to consider policy capacity in its many nuanced forms. This shortcoming may be perpetuating incomplete accounts of governance quality within a diverse and growing group of indices. This chapter surveys five commonly used indices to determine whether and how they measure policy capacity. Two of the indices, the Worldwide Governance Indicators and KPMG Change Readiness Index , address broad measures of governance in a globally comparative context. The remaining indices—the Sustainable Governance Indicators , Global Innovation Policy Index , and Bertelsmann Transformation Index —target particular dimensions of governance. This chapter argues that policy capacity is relevant across many types of indices, and therefore deserves closer attention. In particular, the chapter illustrates how a robust framework measuring policy capacity, proposed by Xun, Ramesh, and Howlett, can be used to identify areas in which governance indices inadequately account for capacity. This chapter is in three parts. After a brief introduction, the first part tabulates measures of capacity within selected indices using elements of the framework as an analytical template. The second part compares tabulation results across all five indices, and the final part advocates a more robust consideration of capacity based on the identified shortcomings of the observed indices. Copyright © 2018 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolicy capacity and governance: Assessing governmental competences and capabilities in theory and practice
EditorsXun WU, Michael HOWLETT, M. RAMESH
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)9783319546759
ISBN (Print)783319546742, 331954674
Publication statusPublished - 2018


Hartley, K., & Zhang, J. (2018). Measuring policy capacity through governance indices. In X. Wu, M. Howlett, & M. Ramesh (Eds.), Policy capacity and governance: Assessing governmental competences and capabilities in theory and practice (pp. 67-97). Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.


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