It would be easy to cheat someone on eBay. However, an essential characteristic of the site prevents this from happening: buyer and seller reviews form what amounts to an "index of reputation." The availability of such an index provides a strong incentive to be an honest trader.
Reputation-Based Governance melds concepts from businesses like eBay with politics. Author Lucio Picci uses interdisciplinary tools to argue that the intelligent use of widely available Internet technologies can strengthen reputational mechanisms and significantly improve public governance. Based on this notion, the book proposes a governance model that leans on the concept of reputational incentives while discussing the pivotal role of reputation in politics today. Picci argues that a continuous, distributed process of assessing policy outcomes, enabled by an appropriate information system, would contribute to a governance model characterized by effectiveness, efficiency, and a minimum amount of rent-seeking activity. Moreover, if citizens were also allowed to express their views on prospective policies, then reputation-based governance would provide a platform on which to develop advanced forms of participative democracy.
About the author
Lucio Picci is Professor of Economics at the University of Bologna. Between 2007 and 2009 he served as Senior Scientist at the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, part of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre.
"The book is also at times a fascinating read, since the author draws on such an eclectic mix of examples and narratives."
— Louise Fitzgerald, Public Administration
"This is a highly original, coherent analysis of the potential of the e-governance to transform the nature and performance of the public sector—destroying hierarchies, whether of logic or of power, 'with the possibility (or the threat) of random access and information symmetry.'"
—Fred Thompson, Professor and Director of the Center for Governance and Public Policy Research, Willamette University
"Reputation-Based Governance presents an innovative and practical proposal to improve government performance through the use of internet-based feedback. Picci's system would give public officials, private contractors, and political appointees incentives to develop strong, positive reputations. E-government can encompass entirely new ways for citizens to hold government to account."
—Susan Rose-Ackerman, Professor, Yale Law School and Department of Political Science and author of From Elections to Democracy