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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments

This book explores the unintended and unanticipated effects associated with ‘modernization’ projects and tackles the key question that they provoke – why do policy-makers persist in such enterprises in the face of evidence that they tend to fail?

Paradoxes of Modernization first discusses what is meant by ‘modernization’ and ‘unintended consequences’, placing public policy reform within more general intellectual and social trends. It presents eight case study ‘modernization’ projects. Their architects promised faster trains, a more efficient and reactive health service, a more motivated public service, better performing local government, enhanced information for prospective US university students, reduced rates of child malnutrition in developing countries, and a free, open, safe, interconnected cyberspace for people to conduct their social and political life. Each case provides a neat story with a paradox that varies the modernization theme and tackles the question: why was the project pursued? The conclusion categorizes the cases in terms of their outcome, from success to disappointment, and suggests some strategies for a more balanced version of modernization for current and future policy-makers

About the Author

Helen Margetts is Professor of Society and the Internet at the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) and Fellow of Mansfield College, University of Oxford, before which she was Director of the School of Public Policy at UCL. A political scientist specialising in politics and government on the Internet, she has authored and co-authored a wide range of books and articles as well as a series of policy reports for the National Audit Office, including (with Patrick Dunleavy and others) Digital-era Governance (Oxford University Press, 2006); (with Christopher Hood) Tools of Government in the Digital Age (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007); and Government on the Internet (a joint LSE-OII study for the NAO, 2007). She is editor of the new journal Policy and Internet (Berkeley Electronic Press).

Perri 6 is Professor of Social Policy in the Graduate School of the College of Business, Law and Social Policy at Nottingham Trent University. His recent books include Institutional Dynamics of Culture (ed. with G Mars, Ashgate, 2008), Public Emotions (ed. with S Radstone, C Squire, and A Treacher, Palgrave, 2007), Beyond Delivery (with E Peck, Palgrave, 2006), Managing Networks of Twenty First Century Organisations (with N Goodwin, E Peck, and T Freeman, Palgrave, 2006) and E-governance (Palgrave, 2004). He has published widely on issues such as joined-up government, consumer choice in public services, privacy and data protection, and social networks in journals such as Political Studies, Public Administration, and the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.

Christopher Hood has been Gladstone Professor of Government and Fellow of All Souls College Oxford since 2001 and was Director of the UK Economic and Social Research Council Public Services Research Programme from 2004 to 2010. Before that he held chairs at the London School of Economics and the University of Sydney, New South Wales, and was a lecturer at the University of Glasgow for 14 years. His publications include The Limits of Administration (Wiley, 1976), The Tools of Government (Macmillan, 1983, updated as The Tools of Government in the Digital Age, 2007, with Helen Margetts), The Art of the State (OUP, 1998) and The Politics of Public Service Bargains (OUP, 2006, with Martin Lodge).

Table of Contents

Part 1: Understanding Modernization’s Paradoxes

1. Introduction, Christopher Hood, Helen Margetts, and Perri 6

2. Modernization Dreams and Public Policy Reform, Helen Margetts

3. When Forethought and Outturn Part: Types of Unanticipated and Unintended Consequences, Perri 6

Part 2: Societal Innovations

4. Ranking of U.S. Public Affairs Educational Programs: Searching for Quality, Finding Equilibrium, H. George Frederickson and Edmund C. Stazyk

5. Et in Arcadia Ego: From Techno-Utopia to Cybercrime, Jeanette Hofmann

6. Happy Surprises? The Development of the World Wide Web and the Semantic Web, Yorick Wilks

Part 3: State-Centred Reforms

7. Addressing Under-nutrition in India: Do ‘Rational’ Approaches Work?, Devi Sridhar

8. Integration at any Price: The Case of the NHS National Programme for Information Technology, Justin Keen

9. Post-world War II British Railways: The Unintended Consequences of Insufficient Government Intervention, Timothy Leunig

Part 4: Modernization of the State

10. The Paradox of Performance-related Pay Systems: Why Do We Keep Adopting Them in the Face of Evidence That They Fail to Motivate?, David Marsden

11. What if Public Management Reform Actually Works? The Paradoxical Success of Performance Management in English Local Government, George Boyne, Oliver James, Peter John, and Nicolai Petrovsky

Part 5: Conclusion

12. Modernization, Balance, and Variety, Helen Margetts, Perri 6, and Christopher Hood

Product Details

Trade Paperback
Publication date:
.7 in.
Copyright Year:
Christopher Hood
Helen Margetts
Perri 6
Sociology-Urban Studies City Specific
Business management


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