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Policy Talks Series: "How do international organizations shape norms and behaviors of national administrations?"

Photo of Jesper Johnson. Pictured in a dark blue suit and tie. Jesper is bearded and smiling.
Wednesday, March 8, 2023, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

The Department of Public Policy brings you the Policy Talks Series as a way to engage critically with today's global and local issues. Our speakers range from policy practitioners and researchers to diplomats and agency leaders to NGO and social responsibility leaders. The events feature a panel discussion, followed by a Q&A session, and a reception.
Drinks and snacks will be offered.


The EU and the OECD recognize that good public governance is key to achieving economic growth, competitiveness, and better quality of life. They, to a very large extent, share values defining good public governance. International organizations aim to help governments navigate their increasingly complex contexts and improve public governance by creating recommendations through policy dialogue and providing the needed comparative international data and analysis. But how and why are policy instruments and indicators actually developed in practice?

This lecture presents two examples of international instruments establishing both normative standards and a set of indicators to measure performance.

  • The case of the Principles of Public Administration shows the evolution of norms/standards in public governance in general over the past decade. The Principles express the values and behaviors that citizens and businesses expect from a modern public administration in the European Union. They were developed in response to the request from the European Commission (EC) to SIGMA, a joint initiative of the EU and the OECD, to distil the values and standards of good public governance for the EU enlargement and neighborhood administrations, taking into consideration primarily the EU acquis, but also the OECD recommendations and other international standards. The first edition of the Principles of Public Administration was published in 2014. The forthcoming revised edition reflects updates in standards set in the EU, OECD and other international organizations, and better responds to societal challenges of the present, such as the need for digital transformation and environmental sustainability. A point of discussion will be how evidence gaps in public governance differ across domains, and what type of evidence policymakers incorporate in recommendations


  • The case of the OECD Public Integrity Indicators shows how an international organization can itself fill an evidence gap in a specific area of public governance. The indicators combine sub-indicators establishing minimum legal, procedural and institutional safeguards for the independence, mandate and operational capability of essential actors in the integrity system with more outcome-oriented sub-indicators drawing on administrative data and surveys. The OECD has made efforts to take existing key performance indicators from national authorities, establish standard definitions to harmonize approaches and enable cross-country comparison. New empirical data from OECD countries is presented for conflict-of-interest, lobbying and political finance, and the audience is invited to engage in dialogue on the implications of these findings for how to craft more effective anti-corruption approaches.


About the Speaker

Jesper Johnsøn, Team Leader, Public Governance Directorate, OECD

 Senior Policy Analyst at the OECD Public Governance Directorate, supporting governments in improving accountability mechanism and public sector integrity systems. Specialized in indicator development, evaluation design and evaluation methods. Leading the development of the OECD Public Integrity Indicators as well as SIGMA’s indicators for the Principles of Public Administration for EU Enlargement countries. Co-led the Government at a Glance: Western Balkans report in 2020. Previously, led the Evaluation and Measurement work stream and ran the Proxy Challenge when working at the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre at the Chr. Michelsen Institute. Holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge analyzing anti-corruption strategies of international organizations in fragile states.