ABSTRACT This essay begins with a comparison of Mumbai and Shanghai, using the recent 2012 book on slum conditions in Mumbai by Katherine Boo, but suggesting that an analysis of public administration (PA) in essential in this regard. Unfortunately, PA is a neglected field in the social sciences. Partly this may be due to doubts about the usefulness of PA, along the lines suggested by a 2004 book by Francis Fukuyama: why, for example, what works in one place and time does not work in another. Political Elasticity (PE) theory is put forward as a way of overcoming these doubts. In so doing, the author attempts to do for the political science what Darwin did for the biology. Case studies (e.g., solid waste management failure in Lagos, as against achievement in Tokyo; the inability of Ghana to improve agricultural outputs, despite its progressive and democratic government) are used to illustrate PE theory. At the conclusion, the impor-tance of motivation is emphasized, using Vietnam (in comparison to Bangladesh) as an example of a country that has been able to link PA to economic development.
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