I DEVELOPMENT AND INTERNATIONAL FOREIGN AID
Ellen Lust and David Waldner (USAID 2015)
Democratic backsliding is an unsettlingly common phenomenon. Too often, competitive elections are undermined, citizens lose their rights to mobilize or voice their demands, and governments become less accountable. That is, changes are made in formal political institutions and informal political practices that significantly reduce the capacity of citizens to make enforceable claims upon the government. This white paper assesses the current state of knowledge on political change through a “Theory of Change” lens, paying particular attention to the processes of democratic backsliding. For development practitioners, a Theory of Change may best be understood as a “description of the logical causal relationships between multiple levels of conditions or interim results needed to achieve a long-term objective. It may be visualized as a road map of change and outlines pathways or steps to get from an initial set of conditions to a desired end result”. Our goal in this paper is to summarize, evaluate, and derive lessons of theories of democratic backsliding, recognizing that these insights must often be inferred from broader theories of democratic transition, consolidation, and breakdown.
Anar K. Ahmadov and Farid Guliyev (IDEA Discussion Paper, 2016)
A number of studies in the academic and policy literature suggest that resource-rich countries with democratic political systems are more likely than their resource-rich counterparts with less democratic systems to enjoy prudential governance of natural resources, which, in turn, makes inclusive sustainable development more likely. This report focuses on the potential roles of stakeholders and institutions in the governance of natural resources. It aims to pinpoint specific mechanisms that are pivotal for ensuring prudential management. It draws on a multitude of examples and includes six case studies that illustrate the interaction between democracy, natural resources and development outcomes.
(UNDP 12 Jan 2016)
Over the past decade, the involvement of some young people – particularly young men, but also increasingly young women – in violence and extremist groups has led some to paint youth generally as a threat to global security and stability. But research shows that youth who participate actively in violence are a minority, while the majority of youth – despite the injustices, deprivations and abuse they can confront daily, particularly in conflict contexts – are not violent and do not participate in violence. Moreover, a growing body of evidence suggests that young women and men can and do play active roles as agents of positive and constructive change. This Practice Note is to inform policymakers and donors of key strategic and programming considerations for supporting young people’s participation to peacebuilding. Specifically, this note has been developed to: (a) offer evidence-based, promising practices in youth peacebuilding in the field; (b) advance the understanding of donors and policy-makers of complex and often interconnected policy and program considerations for more holistic support to youth peacebuilding interventions, and; (c) enhance the effectiveness of policies and funding strategies of bilateral and multilateral donors and agencies supporting youth peacebuilding interventions.
Virginie Le Masson, Maggie Opondo, Ubah Abdi, Patricia Nangiro, Melanie Hilton, Yee Mon Maung, Sophie Rigg, Emma Lovell and Florence Pichon (ODI January 2016)
One year into the implementation of the Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED) programme, this working paper reflects on progress in linking gender equality and resilience within development projects. It draws on the preliminary paper ‘Gender and Resilience’ also produced by BRACED's Knowledge Manager in 2015, which examined how non-government organisations (NGOs) who are funded under the BRACED programme have integrated gender dimensions of resilience to climate change and disasters in the design of their project activities. This follow up paper builds on three case studies of BRACED projects in Myanmar, Burkina Faso and Uganda to reflect further on the realities, challenges and successes of early implementation of their activities. The three case studies have been written by practitioners and reflect on their own gender-sensitive practices. Their experiences are compared in this paper with the aim to inform other organisations implementing resilience-based programmes on the lessons and promising practices to mainstream gender equality.
(GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report, Jan. 2016)
Overall, evidence indicates that it is difficult to attribute financial change to Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) initiatives. There are a limited range of impacts attributed to GRB, however less specific details provided on why initiatives have been successful. Enabling factors identified in the literature include: securing political support; improving awareness and capacity building; developing sound analysis and accountability; securing civil society involvement; having strong institutional mechanisms; building donor partnerships; and having consistent follow-up, monitoring and evaluation of results.
Tam O'Neil and Pilar Domingo (ODI February 2016)
Around the world, women now have more decision-making power and influence over social, political and economic life, than ever before. However, progress is uneven both across and within countries. While increasing the numbers of women in political positions is important, it does not automatically follow that they have real authority or decision-making autonomy. This policy paper synthesises findings from two years of research on women’s voice and leadership in decision-making in developing countries – including evidence reviews and five empirical case studies on Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Gaza, Kenya and Malawi. It sets out to understand the factors that help and hinder women’s access to and substantive influence in decision-making processes in politics and society, and whether women’s leadership advances gender equality and the wellbeing of women more broadly.
Governance, Transparency, and Accountability
Amitai Etzioni (SSRN March 2016)
Transparency is a highly regarded value, a precept used for ideological purposes, and a subject of academic study. The following critical analysis attempts to show that transparency is overvalued. Moreover, its ideological usages cannot be justified, because a social science analysis shows that transparency cannot fulfill the functions its advocates assign to it, although it can play a limited role in their service. We shall see that in assessing transparency, one must take into account a continuum composed of the order of disutility and the level of information costs. The higher the score on both variables, the less useful transparency is. Moreover, these scores need not be particularly high to greatly limit the extent to which the public can rely on transparency for most purposes.
Cecily Rose (SSRN Feb 2016)
International human rights law may serve as a language through which lawyers and others describe the harms resulting from corruption, but this approach has significant limitations as a legal framework. Despite a growing emphasis among scholars and practitioners on a human rights approach to the problem of corruption, this body of law does not provide a strong basis for addressing such conduct. International human rights treaties make no mention of corruption, and human rights treaty bodies have not brought conceptual clarity to the question of how corruption violates or undermines human rights. Given that human rights law binds States alone, it is also ill-suited to a phenomenon that typically occurs at the intersection of the public and private sectors. Even as a language for describing how corruption harms social and economic rights, human rights law has its limitations, some of which come into relief when compared with the field of development economics.
Richard Sannerholm and Lisen Bergquist,(SSRN Feb 2016)
This paper examines rule of law assistance to authoritarian countries by providing a broad outline of multilateral and bilateral support to countries in Central Asia and North Africa. The main point of examination is the type and form of rule of law that is promoted. The outline of donor assistance is predominantly a formalist and an institutionalist one by looking at concrete examples of donor assistance in terms of themes, sectors and institutional support areas, while not presuming the reach of laws and institutions. Rather, the examination centres on donors and donor-client interactions.
Martin Mendelski (SSRN March 2016)
This policy paper identifies two key dilemmas of the EU's rule of law promotion: 1. The problem of supporting unaccountable reformers in a partisan way (ownership dilemma); 2. The problem of valuing quantity over quality (change vs. stability dilemma). It is argued that these dilemmas reinforce legal pathologies which undermine the rule of law in Central and Eastern Europe. The paper offers two unconventional policy recommendations to enhance the quality of rule of law reform and assessment.
Public Private Partnerships
George Ingram, Anne E. Johnson and Helen Moser (Brookings, March 2016)
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has been in the vanguard of donors in recognizing the important role of the private sector to development, most notably via the agency’s launch in 2001 of a program targeted on public-private partnerships (PPPs) and the estimated 1,600 USAID PPPs initiated since then. This paper provides a quantitative and qualitative presentation of USAID’s public-private partnerships and business sector participation in those PPPs. The analysis offered here is based on USAID’s PPP data set covering 2001-2014 and interviews with executives of 17 U.S. corporations that have engaged in PPPs with USAID. The goal of this paper is to utilize USAID’s recently released data set to draw conclusions on the nature of PPPs, the level of business sector engagement, and, utilizing interviews, to describe corporate perspectives on partnership with USAID.
The Handbook and Checklist on Law and Disaster Risk Reduction
(UNDP 09 Dec 2015)
Prompted by a steady increase in disaster related losses in recent years (often linked to global climate change), as well as the international policy frameworks, many countries have sought to strengthen their laws and regulations for disaster risk reduction (DRR.) UNDP and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) jointly developed two new practical guidance tools on this area of law.
The Checklist on Law and Disaster Risk Reduction (the Checklist) provides a prioritized list of 10 questions that lawmakers, officials, practitioners and those supporting them need to consider in order to ensure that their laws provide the best support for DRR. It covers not only dedicated disaster risk management (DRM) laws, but also other sectoral laws and regulations – covering issues such as the environment, land and natural resource management, and climate change – that are critical for building safety and resilience.
The Handbook on Law and Disaster Risk Reduction (the Handbook) provides guidance on how to use the Checklist with a view to support countries to undertake legislative review, identify strengths and gaps and develop effective legislative framework(s) through a multi-stakeholder consultative process addressing all aspects of disaster risk management while according priority to disaster risk reduction considerations in their national as well as sectorial laws.
The Theory and Practice of Legislation (SSRN Dec. 2016)
This essay offers a substantive introduction to the special issue on mending the legislative process. Discontent with the legislative process seems to be pervasive. But how could we move from the widely-shared lament that the lawmaking process is broken to thinking on ways to mend it? This essay sketches the requisite preliminaries for answering this question. It outlines ways to approach the problems with the contemporary legislative process and to think about solutions in a systematic way, and introduces the contributions in this issue.
Ittai Bar-Siman-Tov, 3(3) The Theory and Practice of Legislation, (SSRN Dec. 2016)
In recent years, there has been growing and widespread discontent with the state of the legislative process in many legislatures. At the same time, there is an emerging trend of courts exercising judicial review of the legislative process. Against this backdrop, this article explores the question of what can be the role of courts in efforts to improve the legislative process. The article offers a fresh perspective on the problems in the legislative process and their causes. It then develops a novel argument – that does not rest upon a cynical view of legislatures, nor on a rosy picture of courts – to support the view that judicial review of the legislative process can contribute to improving the legislative process.
Carolina Johnson and John Gastil (SSRN Mar. 2016)
This paper lays out the practical and theoretical characteristics of formally empowered deliberation as a distinctive subset of deliberative processes. As part of a recent broad shift toward a more deliberative conception of democratic politics, participatory deliberative processes increasingly have been formally empowered as part of democratic governance. Governments have moved to delegate authority and deliberative responsibility from elite bodies to lay publics more quickly than scholars have been able to fully identify the implications of this institutionalization for the quality of both deliberation and democracy. This paper describes the emerging characteristics of formally empowered deliberation as a distinctive subset of deliberative processes, in which deliberation between members of the general public is given credible formal authority over policy development and decision making. We first develop a clearer conceptualization of empowered deliberation within the general trend toward participatory governance. We also review critical and supportive perspectives on empowered deliberation, making explicit tradeoffs inherent in the decision to develop an empowered deliberative process. Next, we identify four key dimensions of variation in the design of empowered deliberative institutions, in particular embeddedness in the social/political context and the scope of authority of the deliberative decision. To illustrate these dimensions, we discuss key cases from around the world, noting which forms of empowered deliberation have seen less common innovation and documentation. Finally, we briefly consider how specific processes may become empowered or transform over time, as they transition from experimental or one-off pilot projects to recurring and institutionalized aspects of democratic governance.
(NDI Feb. 2016)
This toolkit provides information and reference materials the National Democratic Institute (NDI) has used in conducting a series of legislative advocacy/engagement workshops in Liberia under its Building Citizen Centered Political Engagement program funded by the Embassy of Sweden (EOS). This toolkit provides reference and support materials, and allows its users to organize similar trainings to assist civil society groups and to lobby and advocate with individual lawmakers and the legislature as a whole on issues of importance to citizens. Aside from providing resources including PowerPoint presentations and agendas, this toolkit provides stepbystep guidance and suggestions on how to organize workshop logistics, identify and select a facilitator and/or trainer and present information during a workshops that vary in length from one to three days.
Tiago Peixoto and Jonathan Fox (World Bank, Jan. 2016)
This paper reviews evidence on the use of 23 information and communication technology (ICT) platforms to project citizen voice to improve public service delivery. This meta-analysis focuses on empirical studies of initiatives in the global South, highlighting both citizen uptake (‘yelp’) and the degree to which public service providers respond to expressions of citizen voice (‘teeth’). The conceptual framework further distinguishes between two trajectories for ICT-enabled citizen voice: Upwards accountability occurs when users provide feedback directly to decision-makers in real time, allowing policy-makers and program managers to identify and address service delivery problems – but at their discretion. Downwards accountability, in contrast, occurs either through real time user feedback or less immediate forms of collective civic action that publicly call on service providers to become more accountable and depends less exclusively on decision- makers’ discretion about whether or not to act on the information provided. This distinction between the ways in which ICT platforms mediate the relationship between citizens and service providers allows for a precise analytical focus on how different dimensions of such platforms contribute to public sector responsiveness. These cases suggest that while ICT platforms have been relevant in increasing policymakers’ and senior managers’ capacity to respond, most of them have yet to influence their willingness to do so.
Ms. Leanne McKay (INPROL, Febuary 2016)
State-Sponsored Legal Aid Schemes is a practical tool for rule of law practitioners who are promoting and supporting government counterparts in the design and development of a state-sponsored legal aid scheme. The guide identifies and assesses the most popular models, and offers recommendations to help practitioners select the most suitable model for their specific context. It includes an overview of the legal and normative framework that establishes the right to legal assistance and a discussion of the central challenges in designing a national legal aid scheme, including creating the necessary legislative framework, ensuring the independence of the service, and providing funding and quality control.
William L. Andreen (SSRN March 2016)
This paper argues that existing political economy approaches lack the analytical tools needed to grasp the inner politics of development. Political economy has come to be seen narrowly as the economics of politics the way incentives shape behavior. Much recent political economy work therefore misses what is distinctively political about politics power, interests, agency, ideas, the subtleties of building and sustaining coalitions, and the role of contingency. This paper aims to give policy makers and practitioners more precise conceptual tools to help them interpret the inner, micro, politics of the contexts in which they work. It argues in particular for more focus on recognising and working with the different forms of power, on understanding how and where interests develop, and on the role of ideas.
Kelly M. McMann (V-Dem Working Paper 2016:26)
Social scientists and practitioners have been limited in their work by the paucity of data about subnational institutions and practices. Such data could help scholars refine regime typologies, improve theories of democratization and regime change, better understand subnational democracy, and illuminate issues of development, conflict, and governance. They could also enable democracy and development advocates to design more effective programs and officials to create better policies. This paper addresses the lack of data by introducing 22 subnational measures from a new dataset, Varieties of Democracy. Validity tests demonstrate that the measures’ strengths outweigh their weaknesses. The measures excel in covering all subnational levels for most countries, capturing different elements of subnational elections, and including a variety of dimensions of elections and civil liberties. The measures also offer unmatched global and temporal coverage. The paper demonstrates how these strengths can provide scholars and practitioners with the benefits described above.
Civil Society/Civil Society Organizations
(UNDP 22 Feb 2016)
This paper suggests that reform-minded public officials can improve development results by using citizen engagement in a variety of ways: to elicit information and ideas, support public service improvements, defend the public interest from ‘capture’ and clientelism, strengthen the legitimacy of the state in the eyes of citizens and bolster accountability and governance in the public sector. Based on analysis of five case studies exploring recent citizen engagement initiatives in different parts of the world this paper posits that there are no blueprints for the design and implementation of such initiatives or standardized and replicable tools. Instead it suggests that successful and sustainable citizen engagement is ideally developed through “a process of confrontation, accommodation, trial and error in which participants discover what works and gain a sense of self-confidence and empowerment”.
III. PROGRAM DESIGN AND EVALUTION
Brian Lucas (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 960, UK 2016)
Capacity development (CD) emerged in the 1990s from a reassessment of earlier approaches to technical cooperation. International declarations such as the Accra Agenda for Action (2008), Cairo Consensus on Capacity Development (2011), and the Busan 4th High-Level Forum (2011) have recognized capacity development as an important component of mainstream development thinking. Capacity development is increasingly recognized as a multi-dimensional, multi-actor process that goes beyond the transfer of knowledge and skills at the individual level to include organizations, sectors, systems, and the enabling environment in which they all exist. Current thinking emphasizes the significance of politics and governance, the need for country-led and country-owned CD, the need to strengthen and use in-country resources more effectively, the need for more South-South co-operation, and a focus on sustainable outcomes. Although there is an emerging consensus, there is still some lack of clarity around the concept of capacity development, and developing a clearer common understanding underpinned by shared principles and values is still seen as an important objective. The lack of consensus “has left many agencies and particularly DFID with the impression that the concept adds little if anything to development effectiveness.” The multilateral agencies currently showing the strongest interest in capacity development are the EU, World Bank, and UNDP, along with the Dutch, Australian, German, and Norwegian bilaterals. The UK uses many of the principles but talks more about political economy and institutional strengthening.
Ani I. Matei and Catalina Antonie Procedia Economics and Finance 26 (2015) 345-350 (SSRN 2016)
Recent years have seen a proliferation of 'composite indicators' or 'indexes' of governance. Such measures can be useful tools for analysing governance, making public policy, building scientific knowledge, and even influencing ruling elites, but some are better tools than others and some are better suited to certain purposes than others. This paper provides a framework of ten questions to help users and producers of governance indexes to evaluate them and consider key components of index design. In reviewing these ten questions -- only six of which, it argues, are critical -- the paper offers examples from some of the best known measures of governance and related topics. It advances two broad arguments: First, more attention should be paid to the fundamentals of social science methodology, i.e., questions about concept formation, content validity, reliability, replicability, robustness, and the relevance of particular measures to underlying research questions. Second, less attention should be paid to some other issues commonly highlighted in the literature on governance measurement, i.e., questions about descriptive complexity, theoretical fit, the precision of estimates, and correct weighting. The paper builds upon a thorough review of the literature and the author's three years of research in practice as co-author of a well-known governance index.
Political Economy Analysis
David Booth, Daniel Harris and Leni Wild (ODI January 2016)
Under what conditions does an understanding of political economy strengthen aid-supported development efforts? Three particular areas of work are considered in the paper: problem-focused political economy studies; training in applied political economy analysis for development agency staff; and direct engagement with donor operations. The paper assesses the gains to be had from moving from broad-brush country analysis to more problem-driven approaches and recounts lessons learned from development agencies trying to embed political economy analysis into their work.
(USAID Draft Working Document: Version: February 1, 2016)
Political Economy Analysis (PEA) is a field-research methodology used to explore not simply how things happen in an aid-recipient country, but why things happen. It results in recommendations for a Country Development Cooperation Strategy (CDCS), project or activity design, course correction during implementation, and is supported by a written report of the analysis. While PEA was not broadly in use within USAID in recent years, the agency’s Democracy, Rights, and Governance (DRG) Strategy, finalized in 2013, states, “Effective integrated programming requires analysis of the various interdependent factors that underlie a development challenge…Therefore, USAID will employ political economy analysis (PEA) and other assessment tools to consider constraints to development holistically across its assistance portfolio and to develop integrated programs that leverage DRG interventions and strategies to support wider development results.” This document provides an overview of the methodology.
Stephen Spratt and Justin Baker. (IDS Evidence Report 163, January 2016)
Many people are excited about data, particularly when those data are big. Big data, we are told, will be the fuel that drives the next industrial revolution, radically reshaping economic structures, employment patterns and reaching into every aspect of economic and social life. These changes are already having major effects and will continue to do so. Beyond that little is clear, however. In the world of data, size obviously matters. But how much will it matter in the end, in what ways will these effects be felt and by whom. Perhaps most importantly, what can be done to influence this? While considering the potential impacts of big data in a broad sense, this paper applies these questions specifically to developing countries. Section 1 introduces the research questions and methods used. Section 2 sketches the growing importance of data, considers some definitions of big data, and reviews the literature on the types of impact we could see. Section 3 develops a conceptual framework to assess how big data may create or destroy different forms of ‘value’, and identifies some of the most important determinants in this respect. Section 4 considers what could be done from a policy perspective over the next few years to increase the likelihood of positive outcomes for developing countries, and minimise the risks of negative effects.
Tiina Pasanen and Louise Shaxson (ODI February 2015)
Policy research projects face a number of challenges: policy processes are complex, involve multiple actors and often feature a significant time-lag between research and what may or may not happen as a result of it. To complicate matters further, the scope and scale of policy research projects are increasingly moving away from single research studies towards multi-component, multi-site and multi-sector endeavours. These factors mean that developing an overarching monitoring and evaluation framework can be challenging. But it is not impossible. The guidance note aims to support the first steps in designing and structuring the M&E framework (that is, what aspects or areas of policy research projects to monitor and evaluate, why, when and how).
(USAID, Jan 2016)
Reducing gender gaps, promoting equality between the sexes, and empowering women are the focus of many global development initiatives. Since women and men experience development differently, it is critical that projects be developed, monitored, and evaluated with indicators that determine if any gender gaps are closed and if gender equality and female empowerment goals have been achieved. These changes can be documented through the systematic collection of data on the outputs, outcomes and impacts of projects using gender-sensitive indicators (GSIs), including sex-specific indictors (SSIs) and indicators that serve as the basis for collecting sex-disaggregated data. The purpose of this Toolkit is to provide USAID staff in the E&E region and its partners with the tools to design, monitor, and evaluate projects using GSIs that yield data that inform project staff of their progress toward achieving the three overarching outcomes identified within USAID’s GE/FE Policy.
(UNDP Dec. 2015)
The Virtual Network for the Development of Indicators for Goal 16 brought together governance experts, development practitioners, statisticians, UN agencies and civil society organizations to advice on the best possible set of indicators for measuring progress on the promotion of peace justice and effective institutions. In the first section of the sourcebook, reflections on recent experiences with data collection and use of indicators related to peace, justice and institutions are shared. That section also provides guidance on the process of identifying indicators and a brief discussion on types of indicators and their relevance. It highlights the importance of complementary and supplementary indicators, as well as the need for disaggregation. The section concludes with some considerations for effective implementation. Annex 1 is a reference document for government agencies, National Statistics Offices, civil society organizations and other users. That reference document identifies and describes suggested indicators for each target, followed by alternative specifications and supplementary indicators necessary for a proper monitoring of the target at national and regional levels.
Florain Schatz and Katharina Welle (CDI Practice Paper, Jan. 2016)
A heightened focus on demonstrating development results has increased the stakes for evaluating impact, while the more complex objectives and designs of international aid programmes make it ever more challenging to attribute effects to a particular intervention. Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is part of a new generation of approaches that go beyond the standard counterfactual logic in assessing causality and impact. Based on the lessons from three diverse applications of QCA, this CDI Practice Paper reflects on the potential of this approach for the impact evaluation toolbox.