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QUAD

Quantification, Administrative Capacity and Democracy

 

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Numbers increasingly govern public services. Both policymaking activities and administrative control are increasingly structured around calculations such as cost-benefit analyses, estimates of social and financial returns, measurements of performance and risk, benchmarking, quantified impact assessments, ratings and rankings, all of which provide information in the form of a numerical representation. Through quantification, public services have experienced a fundamental transformation from “government by rules” to “governance by numbers”, with fundamental implications not just for our understanding of the nature of public service itself, but also for wider debates about the nature of citizenship and democracy. This project scrutinizes the relationships between quantification, administrative capacity and democracy across three policy sectors (health/hospitals, higher education/universities, criminal justice/prisons) and four countries (France, Germany, Netherlands, UK). It offers a cross-national and cross-sectoral study of how managerialist ideas and instruments of quantification have been adopted and how they mattered. More specifically, it examines (i) how quantification has travelled across sectors and states; (ii) relations between quantification and administrative capacity; and (iii) how quantification has redefined relations between public service and liberal democratic understandings of public welfare, notions of citizenship, equity, accountability and legitimacy.

The research is being conducted by a multidisciplinary team of social scientists based in the Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), the Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation at Mines ParisTech (France), the Faculty of Sociology at Bielefeld University (Germany), the Department of Management Accounting and Control at Helmut-Schmidt University Hamburg (Germany) and the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University (Netherlands).

The three year research project is supported by more than €1.9million in research grant funding awarded through the “Open Research Area (ORA) for the Social Sciences” programme by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR, France), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, Germany), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC, UK) and the Nederlands Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO, Netherlands).

ESRC grant Ref: ES/N018869/1

For a detailed description of the project please see: QUAD project

Team

London School of Economics and Political Science,  Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation

Andrea Mennicken (Principal Investigator)

Alex Griffiths  (Research officer)

Martin Lodge

Liisa Kurunmäki

Peter Miller

Ecole des Mines de Paris (Mines ParisTech), Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation

Fabian Muniesa (Co-Investigator)

Florence Paterson

Marie Alauzen

Alexandre Violle

University of Bielefeld, Faculty of Sociology

Michael Huber (Co-Investigator)

Alfons Bora

Maarten Hillebrandt

Fabio Schiebel

Helmut-Schmidt University Hamburg

Tobias Scheytt

Christian Huber 

Nathalie Iloga Balep 

Jacob Reilley 

Leiden University, Institute of Political Science

Arjen Boin (Co-Investigator)

Nadine Raaphorst

Publications

 

Academic Journal Articles: 

Kurunmäki, L., Mennicken, A. and Miller, P. (2018): ‘Économicisation et démocratisation de la faillite: Inventer une procédure de défaillance pour les hôpitaux britanniques [Economising Failure, Democratising Failure: Designing a failure regime for NHS hospitals].’  Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, 221-222: 80-99.

Mennicken, A. (2018): ‘The Powers of Quantification’, Review Symposium: Wendy Espeland and Michael Sauder, Engines of Anxiety: Academic Rankings, Reputation, and Accountability. New York, NY, Russell Sage Foundation, 2016, Socio-Economic Review 16 (1): 207-218.

Alex Griffiths and Meghan Leaver (2017): Wisdom of patients: predicting the quality of care using aggregated patient feedback. BMJ Quality & Safety. ISSN 2044-5415

Kurunmäki, L., Mennicken, A. and Miller, P. (2016): ‘Quantifying, Economising, and Marketising: Democratising the social sphere?’ Sociologie du travail 58, 390-402

Other Publications: 

2018

Alex Griffiths, Meghan Leaver and Roger King (June 2018): The Wisdom of Students: Monitoring Quality through Student Reviews, QAA

2017

Havergal, C. (2018). Student feedback on Facebook could be 'very useful' for regulators, Times Higher Education, 26 April 2018. Full report here.

Andrews, L., Benbouzid, B., Brice, J., Bygrave, L. A., Demortain, D., Griffiths, A., Lodge, M., Mennicken, A., Yeung, K. (2017): Algorithmic Regulation. CARR Discussion Paper 85. London: LSE, CARR. ISBN 2049-2718.

Lodge, M. and Mennicken, A. (2017): ‘A Public Service for All Seasons?’ Risk & Regulation, Winter 2017, pp. 6-8.

Mennicken, A. and Muniesa, F. (2017): ‘Governing Through Value: Public Service and the Asset Rationale.’ Risk & Regulation, Winter 2017, pp. 9-11.

Lodge, M. and Mennicken, A. (2017): ‘Regulation of and by Algorithm in Public Services.’ Risk & Regulation, Winter 2017, pp. 21-22

Balep, N. I. and Huber, C. (2017): 'Quantification times 16’. Risk & Regulation, Winter 2017.

Hillebrandt, M. and Huber, M. (2017): 'Trading promises for money: effects of quantification in the German higher education sector’. Risk & Regulation, Winter 2017.Who you gonna call? Myth-busters’. Risk & Regulation, Winter 2017.

Norderland, M. and Lodge M. (2017): 'Who you gonna call? Myth-busters’. Risk & Regulation, Winter 2017.

Lodge, M. and Mennicken, A. (2017): ‘Capacity in Regulation.’ Risk & Regulation, Summer 2017.

Reilley, J. and Scheytt, T. (2017): 'Governing through quantification: developing a calculative infrastructure for controlling quality in German hospitals’. Risk & Regulation, Summer 2017.

 

Griffiths, A. and Leaver, M. (2017): Predicting inspection outcomes using ‘patient voice’, Risk & Regulation, Summer 2017.

2016

Kurunmäki, L., Mennicken, A. and Miller, P. (2016): ‘Quantifying, Economising, and Marketising: Democratising the social sphere?’  Sociologie du travail 58, 390-402

2015

Quantification, Administrative Capacity and Democracy