The objectives of the Chaire MADP
A need to modernize the methods and forms of governance
It is a widely held belief among French public policy analysts and policymakers that changes are long overdue in the forms and mechanisms of public law (law binding on institutions of the state, private law is binding on individuals) to deal with contemporary issues. The "means culture" is still more prevalent than the "results culture". Evaluation of results has not been embraced broadly enough. Traditional command-and-control governance, even when proven ineffective, is still systematically preferred to contractual and incentive-driven methods. Citizens and organizations still make a limited contribution to public decision-making. Decisions on the extent of direct public spending relative to out-sourcing of public-private partnerships are made without first evaluating the respective role of the public and private sectors. Generally, there is a strong attachment in France to legal uniformity which limits the geographical and functional means of adjustment.
How public law is partly responsible for this delay
Broadly speaking, historical and political reasons explain the slow modernization of the forms and methods of governance within the French system. However, this situation is also due to a sort of exhaustion of public law doctrine and jurisprudence. They were inspired by the French Revolution and by the public priorities of the 5th Republic. Today, French public law is still mainly administrative law established in the middle of the last century around the Welfare state.
These deeply rooted characteristics of French public law explain why it is ill-equipped to deal with the changes in the way public policy issues are framed. For example, in today’s complex society, formal equality prescribed by French public law fails to take into account the diversity of circumstances. In the modern state, public policy is implemented uniquely through long-term mechanisms. "Authority-based solutions" are ineffective. Within French society, individual autonomy is highly valued. Given the inherent negotiation process, contracts are often the only solution to disputes which arise. The fact that French public law is having difficulty adjusting to these current legal challenges reflects a certain “isolationist” mindset that discourages debate on public law, which occurs elsewhere in Europe and abroad. French public law, especially administrative law, largely ignores the studies of academics and/or judges in other countries, and European and international institutions. However, even a brief overview of the questions raised in debates abroad reveals similarities with the dilemmas within French public law. Much of the foreign analysis provides creative answers.
First objective: participate in European and international debate on changes in public policy and public law
Foreign research on contemporary public law often employs cutting-edge studies essential to understanding the current legal context. This is particularly true concerning theories of globalization and regulation.
One of the top priorities of the Chaire is to participate in European and International debates on public law. Three areas of research will be emphasized: the effects of globalization on public policy and law, the evolution of regulation, and state decentralization. Inspired by the European Community legal system, the Chaire will conduct comparative analyses in these fields with reference to economic analyses of law.
The second goal is to contribute to the study of legal instruments for state modernization
Another goal of the Chaire is to foster a dialogue with their European and International counterparts on changes in public policy and law in order to nourish national discussions. The Chaire proposes research on the legal instruments within the academic and public debate used for state modernization. These studies will draw on the analyses of foreign systems. Topics include a contractual framework for public governance, changes in public finance law, and outsourcing and privatization of public functions. The study of needed changes in public policy will concern two specific fields: education and public policy research (under the direction of Professor Marcel Morabito), and changes in social policy.
The Chaire's scientific program
Considering these goals, the Chaire participates in research and higher education, participating in the public debate at various levels on both a theoretical and practical level.
Globalization and public law, European administrative law
Interdisciplinary research with other research centers within Sciences Po Paris focuses on the effects of globalization of public institutions and legal systems. Attention is focused on public law (even though on a global scale, the distinction between public and private law is slightly transformed). The main subjects of study are: public contracts in an era of globalization, competing legal systems, and regulation of the globalization of legal systems. These themes are addressed through research on the effects of the globalization of legal systems on administrative law (various administrative trans-nationalities), on constitutional law (“multi-level constitutionalism”, constitutionalization of global entities), and on financial public law (including states’ budgetary sovereignty). Permanent research focuses on two subtopics: European administrative law and comparative administrative law. In the longer-term, a research program will focus on both the impact of globalization and European construction on French public law.
Decentralization and renovation of the public action
The second pillar of the Chair’s research program is devoted to discovering the effects of decentralization and “territorial pluralism” on public institutions and legal systems. This concerns current and future changes in decentralization. This legal analysis seeks to combine with other approaches, including public management and public policy specialists. Subjects of study include urban planning changes, legal frameworks to manage local public services, changes in local cooperation, and legal tools for municipal governance.
Public Law on Regulation, Economic analysis of public law
The focus here is on the change in legal methods and instruments of governance, especially in the economy. Two main topics arise: public action and public law in a risk-prone society, and economic analysis of public law. A joint study will be carried out with specialists in public policy. The main theme will be: “Public law, regulatory theory, and public policy analysis”.
Legal instruments for State modernization and public management
Among the ambitions of the Chaire is to become a center of study for practical legal solutions to the modernization of public organization and governance. Examples of analyses include the rise of contracts in governance, the changes in public financing law, outsourcing of public policy, public-private partnerships, the legal means to evaluate public policy to assure administrative quality, the means to deal with public projects in dire financial straits, and the legal implications of information technology on public administration. The research plan for studying legal instruments of state modernization is drawn from different public law disciplines, namely administrative law, constitutional law, public finance law, and international law.
Evolving forms of public action in the fields of education
and research (under the direction of Professor Marcel Morabito)
Whatever the field: be it higher education, continuing education, or research, public governance must evolve both on a local and global level. The demands of closer proximity, clarification of responsibilities, and participation in the decision-making process fuel the motivation to change political and administrative practices. Studying changes in public policy requires measuring the impact of recent legal texts on decentralization and evaluating state governance. This approach requires a historical and comparative evaluation of potential changes in the relations between the state and subdivisions of the state, as well as the effectiveness of the chain leading from centralized guidelines to the results. An international approach is essential to determine the impact of public action and its potential progress. Beyond the domestic policy of EU members, the European government’s influence over educational and research policies within the EU appears particularly interesting to measure, along with international competition. A study of the growing legal system which affects multiple states, in the U.S., Asia, or Europe, has become essential to fully understanding this dimension. Public education policy and research requires both historical and comparative approaches which can produce thoughtful deliberation and open up new opportunities for projects. This can take place under the auspices of the Chaire or in close cooperation with the sociological work carried out at Sciences Po by the Centre de Sociologie des Organisations as well as by the Observatoire Sociologique du Changement.
Changes in the shapes of public action linked to social
In the near future, the Chaire will develop a research program on legal changes in public governance; a field in which little research has been carried out. In this field as in others, public governance methods and instruments are affected by changes within a given society faced with new challenges. This is especially the case with legal methods and instruments, such as individual exclusion and urban challenges. This research could also draw from comparative law to analyze legal instruments implementing policies like workfare. The effects and the future of social policy decentralization must also be examined.
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