Faculty research

Research matters at the School of Public Administration

We have outstanding faculty, fellows and students fostering strong links with the wider community, building a bridge between the world of the university and the world of public administration.

We draw on the extensive research capacity of our faculty, who demonstrate in-depth applied and research expertise and experience. Individual faculty research interests are detailed on faculty web pages.

Areas of study

Public Administration

Research in this area focuses on three key areas, Applied Policy and Program Analysis, Comparative Policy and Governance, and Organizational Studies.

Applied Policy and Program Analysis - Research includes economic and social policy analysis, institutional design, program evaluation, and performance measurement.

Comparative Policy and Governance - Research includes policy development and implementation, the role of central agencies, public-private partnerships, and political reform in a local, national and international context.

Organizational Studies - Research includes organizational theory, organizational behaviour, organizational design and development, and human resource management in both the public and non-profit sectors.

Dispute Resolution

Research in Dispute Resolution at the School of Public Administration looks to develop an understanding of concepts, theories, processes and skills for addressing conflicts and disputes in the context of public policy development. Our faculty research spans a diverse range of topics including consensus building strategies, creative approaches to intercultural conflict, and restorative practices in various domains.

Community Development

Research in Community Development is exploring approaches to creating social and economic change at a broadly defined community level. In particular, scholars are examining the potential of the community economic development, co-operative, and non-profit sectors, often in co-operation with the public and private sectors to strengthen our communities.

Research in Community Development is exploring approaches to creating social and economic change at a broadly defined community level.  In particular, scholars are examining the potential of  the community economic development, co-operative, and non-profit sectors, often in cooperation with the public and private sectors to strengthen our communities.

compass

North-South Cooperation in Community-University Engagement

In his role as Secretary of the Global Alliance on Community Engaged Research Professor Budd Hall is working with a coalition of international networks including the Global Universities Network for Innovation, The Talloires Network and the PASCAL International Obeservatory on policy developments in the field of community-university engagement.

weavingFramework for Success in the Constrained Rural Environment

Many rural communities and their residents are examining the potential of entrepreneurship and small business development to create employment and sustain themselves as they face structural changes in natural resource-based industries which underpin their economies. In a recent article Assistant Professor Lynne Siemens explores the primary resources upon which a rural small business owner can draw to be successful in a constrained rural environment.

soilFood security and sustainable local food production

Energy and food prices increases and climate change concerns are rapidly bringing food security issues at the forefront of communities and governments’ policy agendas. Assistant Professor Lynda Gagné is working with local governments and non-profits on developing economic strategies and governance models that will support the expansion of sustainable local food production and contribute to increasing food security.

strikeSocial Movement Learning

Professor Budd Hall is continuing a multi-year stream of work on learning in the context of social movements. He is currently working with colleagues from Edinburgh University on contemporary theory and practice of learning and social movements.

Research in Dispute Resolution at the School of Public Administration looks to develop an understanding of concepts, theories, processes and skills for addressing conflicts and disputes in the context of public policy development. The overall goal is to build capacity and resilience in societies by developing more democratic governance processes and mechanisms. Our faculty research spans a diverse range of topics including consensus building strategies, creative approaches to intercultural conflict, and restorative practices in various domains.

team

Assistant Professor Tara Ney has just co-authored a paper entitled "Voice, Power, and Discourse: Experiences of FGC Participants in the Context of Child Protection" that explores the way that discursive power operates to undermine participants’ experiences of collaboration, participation, and empowerment when a Family Group Conference is used in the context of the child protection system. The research was funded by the BC Law Foundation and will be published in the Journal of Social Work.

Applied Policy and Program Analysis

calculator The Unintended Consequences of Canadian Tax Reform

Assistant Professor Lindsay Tedds recently co-authored a paper for Tax Notes International, entitled "Backdating, Tax Evasion, and the Unintended Consequences of Canadian Tax Reform." This article explores the significant changes to the tax treatment of employee stock options in Canada, and the consequences of these actions on employees and employers.

vancouverA Congestion Charge on the Halifax Peninsula?

Congestion charges pose a policy dilemma due to the balance that must be made between the management of a quasi public good along with the correction of negative externalities against the needs of economic, demographic and urban growth along with citizen acceptance. Assistant Professors Lindsay Tedds and Catherine Althaus-Kaefer have exposed some of the issues, both technical and administrative, that confront the implementation challenge of enacting a congestion charge in their paper in Canadian Public Policy (Vol.37(4), p.513-539) entitled “The Feasibility of Implementing a Congestion Charge on the Halifax Peninsula: Filling the “Missing Link” of Implementation.”

scaleRelationships between Risk and Social Policy

Assistant Professor Catherine Althaus-Kaefer has been working with the Policy and Research Initiative (PRI) completing two working papers and a brownbag session on the relationships between risk and social policy. Some of this work has contributed towards an article in the Horizons journal.

riskChanges to Insider Reporting Obligations

In April 2010, new rules governing the reporting of securities trades by insiders of reporting issuers came into effect in Canada. These new rules were meant to deter the practice of options backdating. In the article "Insider Reporting Obligations and Options Backdating", published in Banking and Finance Law Review (Vol.25, No.3, 2011) Assistant Professor Lindsay Tedds and colleagues review the new rules and the mechanisms for their enforcement revealing weaknesses in the Canadian approach.


Comparative Policy and Governance

pieBackdating: A Canada-US Comparison

Does the Canadian Tax System reward those who engage in the dubious practice of backdating stock options? According to research by Assistant Professor Lindsay Tedds and colleagues the answer is “Yes.” Their forthcoming article in the Columbia Journal of Tax Law contrasts the post-tax returns of backdated at-the-money options to currently-dated in-the-money options (with the same strike price as the backdated options) and demonstrates that a Canadian executive can earn a significantly larger after-tax return from backdated options compared to a US executive. The comparison suggests that the personal tax regime may have been one of the factors which impacted the desire to receive backdated options in lieu of other forms of compensation in Canada but not so in the United States.

service_stateThe Service State: Rhetoric, Reality and Promise

Professor John Langford and Associate Professor Cosmo Howard are co-authors of the recently published book The Service State: Rhetoric, Reality and Promise. This book probes the central dimensions of service reform efforts from a variety of perspectives and answers some pressing questions, such as, 'How can we make better decisions about service delivery? How should we engage users of government services?'

coinsAs the Rich Get Richer and Poor Get Poorer, why have Government Policies Failed to Keep Up with the Rapid Growth in Income Inequality?

Professor David Good goes inside bureaucratic politics to look for some answers in a chapter in the forthcoming book, The New Politics of Redistribution, edited by Keith Banting and John Myles.

CanadaMinority Government and the Public Service: Some Impacts on Governing

Professor David Good analyzes the implications of minority government for the public service in the March 2011 edition of Optimum Online. The singular focus of minority governments on their short-term electoral prospects has significant consequences for the public service and for governing.

fenceLocal Power and the Governance of Borders and Borderlands

How is local power and politics influencing the governance of borders and borderlands? This is a question Associate Professor Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly addresses in “Power, Politics and Governance of Borderlands – the structure and agency of power” in Harlan Koff, Theorizing Borders Through Analyses of Power Relationship, Peter Lang, 2010.

strikeMetropolitan Co-operation

In North America, why and how municipalities in large metropolitan areas co-operate is a pressing question. Both in Canada and the US, the literature has been greatly influenced by the public choice views that rational actors have very limited rational or economic incentives to co-operate unless the stat steps in to rule co-operation. In his upcoming article "Metropolitan co-operation, theory and practice - Looking at Vancouver BC, Canada" appearing in the journal Regions & Cohesion Associate Professor Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly explores the district's exemplary commitment to metropolitan co-operation.

earthLocal Government in a Global World

Local government plays a critical role in the lives of all citizens, from remote towns to capital cities. As the political legitimacy and importance of municipalities grow, however, it becomes increasingly difficult to strike a balance between local and higher levels of government. Working with experts from both Canada and Australia, Associate Professor Emmanuel Brunet-Jailly and co-editor Professor John Martin (LaTrobe University, Australia) present a series of essays which explore the question, is globalization impacting local governments in either Australia or Canada?

Organizational Studies

handsDeveloping Guidelines for Effective Cross-Cultural Research Teams

Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary projects are becoming an important part of academic life. Research questions are becoming more complex and sophisticated, requiring a team approach to address. Despite this increasing use of teams, protocols to prepare individual researchers to work as part of a team are not widely developed. Assistant Professor Lynne Siemens is part of a team investigating the impact of membership from multiple countries, languages and/or cultures on academic teams.

decisionIncrementalism Turns Fifty

Professor David Good marks the occasion of Charles Lindblom’s celebrated theory of decision-making in his article, "Still Budgeting by Muddling Through: Why Disjointed Incrementalism Lasts", in the February 2011 edition of Policy and Society.

himalayaThe Administrative Sherpa: The Adventure of Public Service Leadership

Assistant Professor Catherine Althaus-Kaefer is completing an article on the application of the sherpa metaphor to the leadership task of public administrators. The sherpa metaphor offers tools for practitioners to think more critically about their role and how they can improve their leadership skills.