Chris Skelcher

University of Birmingham
INLOGOV, School of Government and Society

University of Birmingham
Birmingham, West Midlands
United Kingdom
B15 2TT |  Visit Personal Website

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My research concentrates on the way in which ideas about democracy and governance interact with the institutions and behaviors through which public policy is developed, agreed, and performed. The main focus is on third party government operating at arms-length to elected political authority, including citizen-centered governance, networks and partnerships, quangos, and public-private partnerships. I am particularly interested in extending the methodological repertoire that can be employed in interpretive studies of these issues, including the use of Q methodology, quality of democracy analysis, and comparative cross-national analysis. My recent work has involved U.S.-U.K. comparisons (of business improvement districts) as well as intra-European comparisons of the governance of immigration and neighborhood revitalization in large cities. My research addresses a number of questions: What ideas drive contemporary models of governance? How can we explain the emergence of and transitions in the institutional hardware and software of third party governance? How can the democratic performance of these institutions be conceptualized and assessed? What is the role of intermediaries between state and civil society, and especially public managers and community leaders as situated agents? How do ideas about governance relate to the construction of performance? I have also been approaching questions of governance and performance through the lens of management studies, focusing on institutional explanations of poor performance by local governments and other public organizations.

Klijn, Erik-Hans, and Chris Skelcher. 2007. "Democracy and governance networks: compatible or not?" Public Administration 85 (3): 587-608.
Skelcher, Chris. 2010. "Fishing in muddy waters: Principals, agents and democratic governance in Europe." Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 20 (Supplement 1): 161-175.
Justice, Jonathan, and Chris Skelcher. 2009. "Analyzing democracy in third party government: business improvement districts in the US and UK." International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 33 (3): 738-753.

Substantive Focus:
Comparative Public Policy

Theoretical Focus:
Policy Process Theory
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation
Policy Analysis and Evaluation