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Ranking and benchmarking: The political logic of new regulatory instruments in the fields of gender equality and anti-corruption

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New regulatory instruments such as benchmarking, ranking and best practices have given new meaning to the old politics of reputation and changed the standards by which performance is judged. In this article, we investigate the power-based mechanisms that operate between reputation, ranking, benchmarking and performance. Analysing two cases – gender equality policies at EU level and the fight against corruption at the global level – we show that there are valid reasons to doubt the contribution of ranking and benchmarking to improving policy making. The underlying political dynamics even result in adverse effects on performance in terms of legitimacy and effectiveness.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 2012

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