1st Edition

“Those That Fix the Lights” The Practice of Public Sector Management in Developing Asia

By Gambhir Bhatta Copyright 2020
    352 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    350 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book looks at the state of governance in countries of Developing Asia, ie, the poorer countries in the region and those with inadequate creditworthiness and with risk of debt stress. It assesses the state of public sector management and their attempts at governance reforms in these countries. It further considers the space for these countries to initiate and sustain reforms in a few key areas of public policy, including (i) generating more resources domestically; (ii) reforming the state-owned enterprises so that primarily governments do not lose a lot of resources in the form of subsidies; (iii) strengthening local governments so that services can be provided more effectively; and (iv) strengthening the agencies of government such that public sector functions, such as service delivery, are better and more effectively delivered.

    The book’s main conclusion is that while countries in Developing Asia have had difficulties in instituting governance and public sector reforms, the scope for doing so has never been better.

    Part 1: Overview

    1. Introduction

    2. Analytical Constructs for the Study

    Part 2: State of Public Sector Management in Developing Asia

    3. Property Rights and Rule-Based Governance

    4. Quality of Budgetary and Financial Management

    5. Efficiency of Revenue Mobilization

    6. Quality of Public Administration

    7. Public Sector Accountability and Ethics

    Part 3: Selected Agenda Items for Focus

    8. Mobilizing Domestic Resources

    9. Reforming State-owned Enterprises

    10. Enhancing Local Governance and Service Delivery

    Part 4: Focus on Institutions

    11. Strengthening Institutions

    12. Conclusions


    Gambhir Bhatta is Chief of the Knowledge Advisory Services Center at the Asian Development Bank, Manila. Prior to this role, he was the chief of the bank's Governance Thematic Group.

    "This is brilliant book on the theory and practice of governance and public management. The author’s long experience in academia, government and international organization shows through clearly in this theory-driven study of cases in international development."M. Ramesh, UNESCO Chair of Social Policy Design in Asia, National University of Singapore

    "I highly recommend Dr. Gambhir Bhatta’s book ‘Those That Fix the Lights’: The Practice of Public Sector Management in Developing Asia to both policy makers and scholars. Gambhir elegantly argues how important institutions are for effectively delivering public goods and services. His proposals for institutional reform are persuasive, with fresh insights drawn from his rich professional experience."KE Seetha Ram, Senior Consulting Specialist for Capacity Building and Training Projects, Asian Development Bank Institute

    "Drawing on his many years working and studying the region, in his new book Gambhir Bhatta examines why governance capacity in many South, Central and Southeast Asian countries remains low and what can be done about it. Illustrated with many examples from Thailand to Tajikistan and the Maldives to Myanmar, the book is brimming with good advice about how institutions and processes can be strengthened and governments and governance improved in this ever more significant area of the world." — Michael Howlett, Burnaby Mountain Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1), Department of Political Science, Simon Fraser University