Governance and the “Shadow of Hierarchy"

A third problem with regard to the application of the governance concept to areas of limited statehood concerns what has been called the “shadow of hierarchy” (Scharpf 1993). Research on modes of governance in the OECD world and on the transformation of (modern) statehood has demonstrated that public-private cooperation (such as PPPs) and private self-regulation are usually most effective under the “shadow of hierarchy" This means that state agencies supervise private regulatory efforts and that governments threaten to legislate if private actors do not get their act together or do not provide the collective goods. The liberalization of various public services—such as telecommunications, electricity, and the like—has led to ample efforts at reregulation by the modern state (e.g., Heritier 2003; Borzel 2007; 2008). Hierarchical steering or the threat to do so appears to be a precondition for the successful implementation and effectiveness of modes of governance in the modern nation-state and beyond. In other words, nonhierarchical modes of steering and including nonstate actors in governance complement rather than substitute for regulatory activities by national governments or supranational institutions such as the European Union. Moreover—and paradoxi- cally—strong states or strong supranational organizations are required for nonhierarchical modes of steering to be effective and to enhance the problem-solving capacity of governance (Borzel 2009, 2010). Managing political authority requires effective state capacities including a strong “shadow of hierarchy.”

If these findings are universally applicable, then governance in areas of limited statehood is doomed. Areas of limited statehood are by definition characterized by weak state capacities to implement and enforce decisions, that is, by weak “shadows of hierarchy.” Moreover, the contribution of nonstate actors to the provision of collective goods has to substitute for governance by governments rather than to complement it. If the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) decides to withdraw from providing services in the area of public health—for example, the immunization of children—in sub-Saharan Africa, these services will not be provided at all (for details see Schaferhoff, in preparation; Beisheim et al. 2008; and the chapter by Liese and Beisheim in this volume). If Daimler and other automobile manufacturers in South Africa were to withdraw from fighting HIV/AIDS at their production facilities and the surrounding areas, the fight there against the pandemic would be doomed (Borzel, Heritier, and Muller-Debus 2007; Muller-Debus et al. 2009). The same holds true for environmental protection in South Africa, as the chapter by Borzel et al. reveals. In each of these examples, the central governments are far too weak to provide the collective goods in question. As a result, private actors and the international community substitute for rather than complement governance by the state.

What explains then that we actually find governance in areas of limited statehood? The chapters in this volume suggest that there might be functional equivalents to the “shadow of hierarchy” provided by consolidated statehood (see Borzel 2010). First, in the case of the modern protectorates, the international community not only rules authoritatively in areas of limited statehood and interferes with a country’s “Westphalian sovereignty,” but it also provides a “shadow of hierarchy” (chapters by Schneckener and Brozus in this volume; see also Lake 2009 on hierarchy in the international order). Second, international legal standards on good governance, human rights, and the rule of law hold actors accountable in areas of limited statehood, be it governments, NGOs, firms, or even rebel groups (see chapter by Ladwig and Rudolf in this volume). While enforcement of these standards is inherently problematic, the increased legalization of these standards including the international “responsibility to protect” (R2P) casts a shadow of hierarchy in areas of limited statehood. Last but not least, there are various incentive structures available to commit nonstate actors to the provision of collective goods even under the most dire circumstances of limited statehood. As Chojnacki and Branovic argue in their chapter, even warlords, local “big men,” or rebel groups sometimes provide security as a collective good in security markets if faced with an opportunity structure by which they benefit from protecting the local population rather than exploiting it. As to firms and environmental protection in South Africa, Borzel et al. show that there are several market-based mechanisms inducing companies to engage in selfregulation. If, for example, brand-name firms target high-end markets or are subjected to NGO campaigns, they are likely to provide collective goods in the framework of corporate social responsibility (CSR).

In sum, this overview suggests that there are some implicit biases in the governance concept as it has been developed in the context of Western-based social sciences and modern statehood. However, one should not throw out the baby with the bathwater. The governance concept provides a useful tool to analyze policies and politics in areas of limited statehood, precisely because it directs our attention to the role of nonstate actors, on the one hand, and nonhierarchical modes of steering, on the other. As a result, governance overcomes the state-centric bias implicit in the literature on failed and failing states as well as the modernization bias of most development studies. State building in areas of limited statehood might be futile, but “governanceshaping” certainly is not, as Brozus argues in his chapter.

I now turn to the contributions in this book in more detail to explore the role of nonstate actors in the provision of governance, on the one hand, and the contribution of the international community to governance in areas of limited statehood, on the other.

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