>States of change
Some academics can never say no to a conference invitation. Others never turn down a book review. I don’t like flying, so I am (pretty much) much one of the latter. So, for my sins, for the last few weeks I’ve been reading and writing my way towards a review essay of – two very high class pieces of US comparative political science which asks why some states in CEE have ended up with far more bloated and politicized state bureaucracies than others (both think the answer lies in the why parties compete against each other: Runaway State Building by Conor O’Dwyer and Anna Grzymała-Busse’s Rebuilding Leviathan. O’Dwyer does a narrower set of cases, but they basically agree that the Estonians and Slovenes come out on top for lean mean administration (relatively speaking), as more surprisingly do those big public sector spenders the Hungarians. The Slovaks Bulgarians, and Latvians get the booby prize. The two authors, for rather interesting reasons, disagree on the Czech and the Polish cases. Unfortunately, I enjoyed the books so much the essay underwent its own runaway growth processes and ended up as a bit of a Leviathan itself, so I spent the last few days hacking it down to size for the journal concerned. Anyone interested in the longer deluxe version can, however, download it from the link here.