Calculating Political Risk
Routledge – 2009 – 304 pages
Series: Earthscan Risk in Society
Calculating Political Risk is rich and illuminating, and much more than a political science treatise. Althaus draws on diverse literature, extensive interviews and intriguing case studies to offer interdisciplinary, practical and nuanced insight. This book provides new perspectives and more precise language for making sense of a critical dimension of politics, policy-making and public management. Evert Lindquist, Director and Professor, School of Public Administration, University of Victoria, Canada This powerful new book is the first ever examination of the hard edge of how political risk - something faced by all political actors innumerable times every day - is calculated and used in decision-making. It opens with an outline of the historical and linguistic origins of risk, the various disciplinary understandings of risk, the risk society concept, and how risk has come to be so prominent in the context of environmental disaster and terrorism. The book then defines political risk and looks at its manifestations in the public sector, from project to high-level political risk. It also looks at risk identification versus risk management and compares the concept of political risk with the private sector practice of risk management. Unique research findings from interviews with over 100 risk practitioners and politicians provide a detailed look at how political actors calculate political risk. Case study-based chapters look in-depth at neat and discrete examples: risk calculation in state development plans in Australia; political risk identification and management in the UK during the mad cow crisis; and US government risk calculation in the post-September 11 context. The final chapters draw together the experiences and lessons learned from the case studies and practitioner insights to formulate a better understanding of what political risk is and what its calculation means in political practice. The author shows how political risk calculation provides a fresh perspective on policy analysis and identifies how political risk is relevant to a broader understanding of politics and political science, as well as policy formulation and implementation on the ground.
'Public-administration consultant Althaus…[brings] together perspectives from medicine, finance, philosophy, mathematics, and other fields to flesh out a scholarly understanding of political risk' The Futurist, August 2009.
Introduction: The Emergence and Salience of Risk * Defining Political Risk * Risk Identification Vs Risk Management * Talking About Risk: What the Practitioners Say * Peaceful Planning * Mad Cow Madness * Serious Security: Responding to September 11 * Plans, Cows and Planes: Poitical Risk Analysis Compared * Conclusion: Where to From Here? * Index
Catherine Althaus is an assistant Professor at the University of Victoria in Canada. Prior to this she was an ANZSOG (Australia and New Zealand School of Government) Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Political Science Program of the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University in Canberra. She was also a University Medallist and an Associate Fellow with the Centre for Governance and Public Policy at Griffith University in Brisbane. Althaus was a former official of the Queensland Treasury Department and Queensland Office of the Cabinet, having worked as a policy officer and research assistant to directors-general of both agencies. Her present research interests focus on public policy and public administration as well as bioethics, leadership in the public service and the interface between politics and religion. She recently co-authored the fourth edition of the Australian Policy Handbook with Peter Bridgman and Glyn Davis, and has published articles in Risk Analysis and The Canberra Times.