Infrastructure Governance as Political Choice

Kai Wegrich and Gerhard Hammerschmid

in The Governance of Infrastructure

Published in print March 2017 | ISBN: 9780198787310
Published online April 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191829369 | DOI:

Series: Hertie Governance Report

Infrastructure Governance as Political Choice

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This chapter explores political decision-making relating to infrastructure investments in light of the recent trends towards establishing independent expert bodies to guide this process. The chapter argues that the complexity of infrastructure governance leads to patterns of decision-making shaped by mechanisms of bounded rationality and selective perception. Drawing on the concept of ‘political choice’, it also shows that current debates about such independent expert bodies too often seek to replace the political logic with a technocratic one, instead of exploring ways to increase the intelligence of inherently political processes. Institutional design debates suffer from ‘naive institutionalism’ overestimating the effects of formal institutional changes and ignoring the role of informal political dynamics. Overall, the institutional design debate in infrastructure governance should be more reflective and consider experiences with institutional reforms and attempts to depoliticise the policy process with tools of rational analysis.

Keywords: decision-making; infrastructure; investment; bounded rationality; complexity; political choice; naive institutionalism; institutional reform

Chapter.  9103 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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