Daniel Klimovský (corresponding guest editor)
Affiliation: Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia / University of Pardubice, Czech Republic
Research/teaching focus: public administration, policy design, local government
Juraj Nemec (guest editor)
Affiliation: Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic / University of Matej Bel in Banská Bystrica, Slovakia
Research/teaching focus: public finance, public management
Geert Bouckaert (guest editor)
Affiliation: Public Governance Institute, KU Leuven, Belgium
Research/teaching focus: performance management, public sector reform, financial cycles, public management, policy design
8,000 max. (incl. references)
Context and expected contents:
This call is issued in the context of enormous public policy challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. In general, the pandemic offers a unique natural experiment in comparative public policy and public administration. Both the Czech Republic and Slovakia were really successful in managing the spread of COVID-19 during the first phase of the pandemic in spring 2020, but at the cost of heavy burden on their national economics and by the questionable restrictions of some human rights. However, both countries totally failed to prevent the expected second phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, some relevant data from September and October 2020 showed that the countries lost their positions of leaders in fighting against the pandemic and they dropped down in international rankings among the worst cases worldwide. While the Government of the Czech Republic implemented a hard nationwide lockdown, the Slovak Government decided to combine a soft lockdown with a blanket testing of its entire population. In the late October, Slovakia became the first EU country to attempt a similar feat. Obviously, the eyes of many epidemiologists and medical scientists were focused on these small EU countries thanks to these measures. However, their policy design, implementation as well as effects were carefully observed by various social scientists, too.
The already existing knowledge as well as experience opens many different directions for academic research. The crisis evoked by the pandemic has enhanced, for example, the visibility of public value, a concept now representing a superordinate goal uniting all sectors. It has also tested policy-making and administrative capacities of all governments. Obviously, some policies were affected more than the others but proper research is needed in all cases. A positive and/or negative role of traditional media and social media in preventing the infection spread is another interesting question that needs to be reflected by relevant research. There is much to learn about public private interface, public service management and service delivery. Last but not least all these phenomena have already had significant impacts on public budgeting at all levels, because high level of uncertainty leads always to some difficulties in planning and strategic decision making.
This special issue is focused on experience of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Both countries have at least partly followed neoliberal ideology when solving critical impacts of the pandemic crisis on their business sectors. Resilient services should be built by allowing for innovation, transformation and enrichment of processes and human activities. However, are these countries working on public service resilience during the COVID-19 era? And what resilience could be expected towards allocation and distribution of public resources? We call for diverse scholarly contributions. We encourage especially empirical contributions on different aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Czech Republic and Slovakia with special regard to various public policies and related budgeting challenges as well as other social, political and economic issues. For example, the following issues can be covered:
the COVID-19 spread? What are the limitations and/or requirements of political and administrative leadership in the face of scientific evidence about the COVID-19 pandemic?
with the recent global financial crisis? What kind of similarities should be taken into account by relevant decision makers at different political levels?