"Hollow" infrastructure?

I’m just starting to get turned-onto this line of research on “hollow states,” which is about the decreasing duties associated with state enterprise and how to manage the relations between states and non-state entities as they adopt a greater number of previously-state, now-outsourced duties related to governance.

This paper on infrastructure caught my attention. It is written by Georgia’s O’Toole.

Citation:

Laurence J. O’Toole, Jr.

Hollowing the Infrastructure: Revolving Loan Programs and Network Dynamics in the American States

J Public Adm Res Theory (1996) 6(2): 225242

Abstract:

Trends toward more complex intergovernmental programs and greater use of public-private arrangements carry implications for public management, since these developments signify challenges for administrators called upon to manage within hollowed institutional settings: interorganizational networks for effectuating policy. The implications of such shifts are explored by examining one important program change of the last decade: the move away from federal grant support for municipal wastewater treatment infrastructure and toward the creation of separate state revolving-loan funds (SRFs). National regulatory standards remain, but the central place of the EPA in the infrastructure effort has shifted largely into other hands, with consequences for the implementation of policy. Altered policy instruments stimulate the formation of more complex network patterns involving new actors who offer needed technologies. These changes carry implications for program operations and results. Evidence from the operations of SRFs suggests that these developments are significant and also that public management has become, if anything, even more consequential in such networked contexts.

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About Nicholas

Associate Professor of Sociology, Environmental Studies, and Science and Technology Studies at Penn State, Nicholas mainly writes about understanding the scientific study of states and, thus, it is namely about state theory. Given his training in sociology and STS, he takes a decidedly STS-oriented approach to state theory and issues of governance.

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