The rise of governance and the risks of failure: The case of economic development

  • Bob Jessop Lancaster University
Keywords: governance, market, state, hierarchy, partnership, coordination, heterarchy, steering, meta-governance


This article explores the roles of markets, states, and partnerships in economic coordination and considers their respective tendencies to failure. The first section addresses the growing interest in governance and seeks explanations in recent theoretical developments. The second section then asks whether the rise of the governance paradigm might also reflect fundamental shifts in economic, political, and social life, such that governance will remain a key issue for a long time, or is a response to more cyclical shifts in modes of coordination. The third section considers the logic of ‘heterarchic governance’ in contrast to anarchic, ex post coordination through market exchange and imperative ex ante coordination through hierarchical forms of organization. It also offers some preliminary reflections on the nature, forms, and logic of ‘governance failure’. The final section addresses the state’s increasing role in ‘meta-governance’, i.e., in managing the respective roles of these different modes of coordination.

Selection of classic texts