April 1, 2019
  Governance Information Bulletin 2019:2 Subscribe | Unsubscribe



Richard Youngs (CEIP, 2019)

Many Western analysts and policymakers increasingly see the world in terms of a geopolitical struggle between the West and a loosely affiliated set of autocratic, non-Western powers, especially China and Russia. Many of these thinkers tend to assume that the liberal parts of the global order derive almost exclusively from Western international influences. This mentality sometimes breeds the view that the struggle between democracy and autocracy—or liberalism and illiberalism—inherently pits Westerners against non-Westerners. This view distorts and oversimplifies how Western and non-Western influences have shaped democracy and authoritarianism worldwide. Many non-Western powers are democratic, and these countries are making at least some efforts to support democracy beyond their borders. Those who overlook this fact and the significance of positive non-Western influences on democracy miss an important dimension of the international order and its ongoing evolution. Non-Western democracy support is no more than tentative but is not always radically different from Western norms and practices. In fact, Western and non-Western democracy support policies are experiencing similar problems and are struggling to retain traction against a sustained pushback from antidemocratic forces. These shared difficulties make it more important that democracy’s supporters work together across the boundaries between Western and non-Western states. Successful collaboration will be crucial in determining whether support for democratic norms retains a place in the reshaped global order. The retrenchment of U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration from democracy support makes it even more important that other democracies—in all regions—coordinate effectively to defend democratic norms internationally.

Mohammad Fadel (SSRN 2018)

Contemporary Political Islam, or Islamism, is commonly defined as a movement that seeks to apply the Sharīʿa as the basic law of Muslim states. This suggests that political legitimacy in Islamic thought can be reduced to the conformity of a polity’s actions to a pre-determined body of rules that are supplied by revelation, as supplemented by the interpretations of jurists. Such a demand is reasonably understood to be non-democratic because it includes no room for self-government by making it either redundant, if it produces results that are in conformity with the norms of the Sharīʿa, or contradictory to self-government, if the results of self-government differ from revealed norms. I argue instead that Islamic constitutional theory and political thought provide explicit grounds for self-government based on a conception of the state that is grounded in the ideals of agency and fiduciary duties rather than conformity with the pre-determined substantive norms of revelation simpliciter. On this account, self-government is essential to political legitimacy because the legitimacy of the ruler’s decisions can only be understood from the perspective of whether the people, as the principal who authorized the agent (i.e., the government), approves of the government’s conduct, or can reasonably be understood to approve of the government’s conduct. This has important implications for understanding how a state can, consistent with self-government, incorporate the Sharīʿa and its values in its legislative system. Far from imposing particular outcomes, in most cases, the rules of the Sharīʿa will only present options for how public law may be made, while giving the public the freedom, through the exercise of its collective deliberation, to choose how it operationalizes various provisions and values of the Sharīʿa in positive law in relation to its own determination of its own rational good (maṣlaḥa).

Fragile States

(USIP 2019)

Established in response to a request from the U.S. Congress in 2017, the Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States has developed a new strategy that represents the insightful and bipartisan foreign policy thinking of fifteen leading former policymakers, legislators, and other experts on how to empower fragile states to resist extremism on their own. The Task Force offers three recommendations to build on emerging opportunities and overcome persistent hurdles to preventing extremism effectively. First, the United States should adopt a shared framework for strategic prevention that recognizes that extremism is a political and ideological problem. The framework should also identify building partnerships with leaders, civil society, and private sector actors in fragile states who are committed to governing accountably as the best approach to preventing extremism. Second, to ensure that agencies have the resources, processes, and authorities they need to operationalize this shared framework, the Congress and the Executive Branch should launch a Strategic Prevention Initiative to align all U.S. policy instruments, from bilateral assistance to diplomatic engagement, in support of prevention. Third, the United States should establish a Partnership Development Fund, a new international platform for donors and the private sector to pool their resources and coordinate their activities in support of prevention. This would ensure that the work being done by the United States as part of the Strategic Prevention Initiative is matched by other international donors working jointly toward the same goals. It would create a mechanism for other countries to share the burden and incentivize an enterprise-driven approach. A single, unified source of assistance might also entice fragile states that would otherwise look elsewhere for help.

(Brookings, 2019)

Fragility is a syndrome of characteristics: fractured identities, a lack of state legitimacy and capacity, insecurity, a dearth of formal enterprises, and proneness to shocks. These reinforce each other, creating a trap. That fragility is a syndrome challenges both the conventional diagnosis of a “root cause” (typically some presumed past injustice) and the conventional “solution,” which starts from somze future vision of an OECD-style society and deduces an agenda from the differences between that vision and current reality. The authors’ alternative approach emphasizes the importance of national sovereignty, and pivotal moments of opportunities. As to sovereignty, states, not foreign entities, must manifestly be in charge of public policy: They must not be bullied or bribed into a policy agenda in which they do not believe. During a pivotal moment, the international community should support, but not set, policies. Citizens must recognize without ambiguity that the government is choosing its course of action without undue external influence. Our suggestion to such governments is to adopt a two-pronged approach. The first prong is a series of step-by-step changes that are simple to do and result in quick, visible improvements: This gradually builds confidence and practical legitimacy. The second prong is a medium-term agenda that is highly focused on strengthening the process by which jobs are generated: Productive jobs will gradually stabilize the society and enable living standards to catch up.


(ICAN/UNDP 20019)

The global study, Invisible Women: Gendered Dimensions of Return, Reintegration and Rehabilitation, conducted in partnership with the International Civil Society Action Network, responds to a pressing need for action-oriented research that improves our understanding of women’s roles in reintegration and rehabilitation processes, and the work of women-led organizations in supporting these processes. The study considers their experiences as critical lessons for the design and implementation of initiatives to prevent violent extremism. In doing so, it makes an important contribution to an expanding evidence base on the reintegration of violent extremists.

(UNDP, 2019)

Gender equality lies at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which asserts gender equality as both a fundamental human right and a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. The evidence collected in this discussion paper shows that gender equality is critical to achieving a wide range of objectives pertaining to sustainable development. These include promoting economic growth and labor productivity, reducing poverty, enhancing human capital through health and education, attaining food security, addressing climate change impacts and strengthening resilience to disasters, and ensuring more peaceful and inclusive communities. It therefore argues that accelerating gender equality in all spheres of society leads to a more rapid increase in progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda.

(WB 2019)

Women, Business and the Law 2019: A Decade of Reform introduces a new index measuring legal rights for women throughout their working lives in 187 economies. The index is composed of 35 data points grouped into eight indicators. The data covers a 10-year period not only to understand the current situation but to see how laws affecting women’s equality of opportunity have evolved over time.

Human Rights/Rule of Law

Cosette D. Creamer & Beth A. Simmons (SSRN 2019)

Human rights treaty bodies have been frequently criticized as useless and the regime’s self-reporting procedure widely viewed as a whitewash. Yet very little research explores what, if any, influence this periodic review process has on governments’ implementation of and compliance with treaty obligations. We argue oversight committees may play an important role in improving rights on the ground by providing information for international and primarily domestic audiences. This paper examines the cumulative effects on women’s rights of self-reporting and oversight review, using original data on the history of state reporting to and review by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Using a dynamic approach to study the effects of the periodic review process, we find that self-reporting has a significant positive effect on women’s rights. We explore three clusters of evidence for the domestic mobilization mechanism: information provision through domestic civil society organizations; publicity and critique through the domestic media; and parliamentary attention, debate, and implementation of recommendations. This is the first study to present positive evidence on the effects of self-reporting on rights and to describe the mechanisms that link Geneva bodies with local politics. Our findings challenge the received wisdom that the process of reporting to these treaty bodies is basically useless.

(Washington, DC: USAID, the Human Rights Support Mechanism, and Pact, 2018)

The purpose of this guidance is to help USAID staff understand, adopt and implement rights-based approaches across a range of sectors. Using practical tips, case studies and program examples, this brief guide explains how to integrate human rights approaches into other sectors, such as health, education, food security, the environment and economic growth. Pact co-created this document with USAID’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance under the USAID-funded, Freedom House-led Human Rights Support Mechanism.

Radu Mares (SSRN 2019)

This is a study of three authoritative instruments that promote a common idea: economic activities and development should be conducted with respect for human rights. The World Bank’s Framework, the International Financial Corporation’ Performance Standards and the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights are examined to get clarity on how human rights risk management differs from more conventional management approaches. The focus here is on prevention of human rights impacts. Do the three instruments employ approaches adequate for handling human rights risks? To understand prevention, one needs to reflect on what makes human rights a particular type of impact and account for the regulatory context of protecting human rights transnationally. The analysis identifies four ‘offsets’ through which economic decision-makers can distort their human rights performance and place causal observers at a disadvantage. Prevention becomes an issue of how to relate to ‘residual impacts’ on human rights. This article finds that the ‘hierarchy or mitigation’ and even ‘human rights due diligence’ under illuminate the challenge. The proposal here is to add ‘reduction at source’ as a parameter of human rights risk management. The sources for this analysis are the three instruments, and the practice of implementing organizations, particularly IFC projects, CAO cases, impact assessments, and CSR reports. In conclusion, the potential for cross-fertilization among instruments is genuine. Increased clarity on prevention of human rights impacts should assist economic decision-makers in their risk management task and casual observers in assessing their performance.

(UNDP 2019)

The International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy provide a comprehensive set of international legal standards for placing human dignity and sustainable development at the center of Member State responses to illicit drug economies. The guidelines cover a diverse set of substantive issues ranging from development to criminal justice to public health. The guidelines were developed by a coalition of UN Member States, WHO, UNAIDS, UNDP and leading human rights and drug policy experts. The Guidelines are an example of the support that UNDP provides to practically integrate international human rights commitments into national, regional and global policy and programs.

Transparency, Accountability, and Anticorruption

Ronald U. Mendoza & Katherine Peralta (SSRN 2019)

This paper discusses mechanisms of corruption in the Philippines and surveys impact evaluation studies of anti-corruption initiatives across the world with a focus on bottom-up or grassroots approaches. Corruption is an age-old issue faced by societies all over the world, but most especially by developing countries that do not yet have the strong institutions that could curb corrupt behavior and tendencies. In the Philippines, corrupt activities take on many forms from vote-buying to bid-rigging. Because of corruption, citizens have difficulty in accessing to quality public goods and services. Literature on corruption has evolved from focusing solely on the relationship between public officials and top bureaucrats/politicians (“horizontal accountability”) and has expanded to the accountability mechanisms between voter and politician (“vertical accountability”) and citizen and public servants (“social accountability”). Grassroots approaches addressing social accountability mechanisms have become increasingly popular in developing countries as these fit well with community-driven politics in these societies and empowers citizens in these countries to push back against erring officials. However, there are issues in the effectiveness of grassroots approaches because of the community’s possible lack of capability in processing and acting on information related to government activities, the lack of power in collective civil action, and its susceptibility to local capture by elites. More than ever, it is crucial for those in developing countries to be more watchful of the different players involved in corruption and how existing anti-corruption initiatives are holding up in the ever-changing political landscape.

Arifin Rosid, Chris Evans & Binh Tran-Nam (SSRN 2019)

Tax non-compliance and perceptions of corruption are key challenges to state-building in developing countries. Using a social psychology approach, we develop a theoretical model in which different forms of perceived corruption can adversely influence the way individual taxpayers behave. We then apply this model to Indonesia, placing our empirical findings in the context of compliance risk management, identifying strategies to improve tax compliance, and exploring how to implement these strategies effectively. We shed light on the applicability of the traditional responsive regulatory approach (used by revenue authorities to deal with intentionally non-compliant taxpayers), which combines measures in attempting to achieve either voluntary or enforced compliance. While the empirical evidence is based on the Indonesian experience, we suggest that our model is sufficiently general and robust to be applicable to other developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region.


Executive/Public Administration/Regulatory Agencies

(ODI 2019)

This book examines the interplay between public financial management (PFM) and other key aspects of governance in low- and middle-income countries, using the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) framework and related data sets to measure the quality of PFM systems. The PEFA framework was developed on the premise that effective PFM institutions and systems play a crucial role in the implementation of national policies for development and poverty reduction. It is part of a broader set of initiatives aimed at strengthening public sector governance frameworks. This book uses the PEFA assessment results to understand the impact of PFM performance on other governance initiatives. The book is part of a project to improve the evidence base for understanding the impact of PEFA and PFM reforms with respect to political institutions, fragility, anticorruption, and revenue mobilization. The research was undertaken by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in close cooperation with the PEFA Secretariat.


Antonov Jaroslav Valerievich (SSRN 2019)

This article considers the main conceptual problems of e-democracy, related to the implementation of e-democracy mechanisms and offers suggestions for improving the legal regulation of e-democracy.

(OECD 2019)

Digital technologies and data are transformational. People, firms and governments live, interact, produce and work differently than in the past, and these changes are accelerating rapidly. An ecosystem of interdependent digital technologies – the Internet of Things, next generation networks (5G), cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence, blockchain and quantum computing – underpins digital transformation and will evolve to drive future economic and societal changes. Digital transformation affects many aspects of the economy and society in complex and interrelated ways, and the Going Digital Toolkit helps countries navigate these changes and the trade-offs that policy makers need to make. The Toolkit is structured along the lines of the Going Digital Integrated Policy Framework, which includes seven policy dimensions that need to be coordinated to shape a common digital future that improves the lives of all people. These policy dimensions include: (1) Access to communications infrastructures, services and data; (2) Effective use of digital technologies and data; (3) Data-driven and digital innovation; (4) Good jobs for all; (5) Social prosperity and inclusion; (6) Trust in the digital age, and (7) Market openness in digital business environments. The Toolkit maps a core set of indicators to each of the seven policy dimensions and allows users to interactively explore these data to assess a country’s state of digital development. The Toolkit also contains OECD policy guidance and insights related to each of the policy dimensions to help governments design and implement policies that are fit for the digital age. In due course, the Toolkit will incorporate innovative policy practices. Users can explore the Toolkit using three entry points: 1) policy dimensions, 2) countries and 3) themes.

Elections and Political Parties

(NDI, 2019)
The purpose of this resource is to raise awareness about the threat of disinformation and how it is being used to undermine the functioning of democratic institutions and processes. The resource is intended to assist civic and political activists with an interest in protecting the space for informed dialogue and public deliberation. This includes ensuring the flow of accurate information and supporting the practice of civil political discourse. (Available in Arabic, English, French, Russian, Serbian, and Spanish.)


International Influence/USAID Self Reliance Metrics

Judith G. Kelley & Beth A. Simmons (SSRN 2019)

In recent decades, IGOs, NGOs, private firms and even states have begun to regularly package and distribute information on the relative performance of states. From the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index to the Financial Action Task Force blacklist, Global Performance Indicators (GPIs) are increasingly deployed to influence governance globally. We argue that GPIs derive influence from their ability to frame issues, extend the authority of the creator, and—most importantly—to invoke recurrent comparison that stimulate governments' concerns for their own and their country's reputation. Their public and ongoing ratings and rankings of states are particularly adept at capturing attention not only at elite policy levels but also among other domestic and transnational actors. GPIs thus raise new questions for research on politics and governance globally. What are the social and political effects of this form of information on discourse, policies and behavior? What types of actors can effectively wield GPIs and on what types of issues? In this symposium introduction, we define GPIs, describe their rise, and theorize and discuss these questions in light of the findings of the symposium contributions.

Rush Doshi, Judith G. Kelley, & Beth A. Simmons (SSSRN 2019)

The proliferation of Global Performance Indicators (GPIs), especially those that rate and rank states against one another, shapes decisions of states, investors, bureaucrats, and voters. This power has not been lost on the World Bank, which has marshaled the Ease of Doing Business (EDB) index to amass surprising influence over global regulatory policies – a domain over which it has no explicit mandate and for which there is ideological contestation. This paper demonstrates how the World Bank’s EDB ranking system affects policy through bureaucratic, transnational, and domestic political channels. We use observational and experimental data to show that states respond to being publicly ranked and make reforms strategically to improve their ranking. A survey experiment of professional investors demonstrates that the EDB ranking shapes investor perceptions of investment opportunities. Qualitative evidence from India’s interagency EDB effort show how these mechanisms shape domestic politics and policy in the world’s second-largest largest emerging economy.

Capacity Development

(IREX 2019)

IREX's Guide to Organizational Performance Improvement describes how to facilitate an inclusive process that will help an organization become more effective, sustainable, and deliver results for the people it seeks to serve. Traditional capacity development falls short when it focuses narrowly on improving the skills of an organization’s staff without taking into account important external factors and effectiveness measures, such as the local political economy, relationships with key stakeholders and beneficiaries, or organizational stability in a rapidly changing world. IREX’s approach focuses doggedly on identifying ways to enhance performance to deliver results in a variety of operating environments.

Assessment Tools and Strategies

Dowd, Kishi, Justino, and Marchais, (IDS 2019)

Violence monitoring systems can play a vital role in tracking, managing, and responding to violence. Such systems typically rely on one or a combination of strategies for data collection, including old and new media monitoring. In spite of the widespread use of violence monitoring systems there is limited information on their comparative opportunities and limitations. Drawing on research conducted during the 2017 Kenya elections, this briefing explains why policymakers and practitioners should continue to invest in combined approaches to violence monitoring that make use of both old and new media to play to their relative strengths while remaining aware of limitations and biases in both.

Measurement, Evaluation & Learning

Paolo Dardanelli, John Kincaid, Alan Fenna et. al. (SSRN 2019)

This article develops a conceptual, methodological, and theoretical framework for analyzing dynamic decentralization in federations. It first reviews the literature and outlines the research design and methods adopted. It then conceptualizes static decentralization and describes the seven-point coding scheme we employed to measure it across twenty-two policy areas and five fiscal categories at ten-year intervals since the establishment of a federation. The subsequent section conceptualizes dynamic decentralization and discusses its five main properties: direction, magnitude, tempo, form, and instruments. Drawing from several strands of the literature, the article finally identifies seven categories of causal determinants of dynamic decentralization, from which we derive hypotheses for assessment.

Kate Roll & Geoffrey Swenson (SSRN 2019)

Despite sustained scholarly interest in post-conflict states, there has not been a thorough review and analysis of associated methodology and the challenges of conducting research in these contexts. Addressing this gap, this paper directs attention to the particular effects of these setting on access and data quality and their ramifications for the resulting scholarship. It assesses the intrinsic challenges of performing fieldwork in these environments, drawing on both relevant social science literature and the authors’ experiences of carrying out research in Afghanistan and Timor-Leste. The study demonstrates that the post-conflict environment molds research design and, consequently, influences how questions are answered as well as the questions asked. Moreover, it highlights ways to mitigate these issues. This work is of relevance to scholars planning to engage in field research and to researchers reflecting upon their work, as well as to policymakers who are considering undertaking programs or commissioning research in post-conflict areas.

Ton, Mayne, Delahais et.al. (IDS 2019)

While contribution analysis provides a step-by-step approach to verify whether and why an intervention is a contributory factor to development impact, most contribution analysis studies do not quantify the ‘share of contribution’ that can be attributed to a particular support intervention. Commissioners of evaluations, however, often want to understand the size or importance of a contribution, not least for accountability purposes. The easy (and not necessarily incorrect) response to this question would be to say that it is impossible to do so. However, this CDI Practice Paper explores how contribution analysis can be stretched so that it can give some sense of the importance of a contribution in a quantitative manner. The first part of the paper introduces the approach of contribution analysis and presents ideas to capture the change process in theories of change and system maps. The second part presents research design elements that include ranking or quantitative measures of impact in the verification of the theory of change and resulting contribution story.

(Bond 2019)

There are a host of websites for monitoring and evaluation practice and learning, with a variety of resources such as virtual libraries, toolkits, blogs, email lists, communities of practice, and e-learning opportunities such as webinars and webcasts. Bond has assembled the links to a variety of external websites or organizations that offer useful MEAL tools for NGOs.

Message from the Editor

SUNY/CID welcomes new and continuing readers to its Governance Information Bulletin (GIB) which highlights recent articles of interest for development practitioners and scholars in the area of democracy and governance. Areas of attention include: (1) development and international foreign aid, including strategies of democracy and governance assistance; (2) development and political institutions including legislative development; local governance and devolution; and public sector performance improvement and (3) program design, measurement and evaluation

In addition, all previous issues can be found at the SUNY/CID website here.

We welcome all questions, comments and suggestions at cidgib@albany.edu.

David E. Guinn

In This Issue

* Upholding Democracy in a Post-Western Order

* Political Legitimacy, Democracy and Islamic Law: The Place of Self‐Government in Islamic Political Thought

* Preventing Extremism in Fragile States: A New Approach: Final Report of the Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States

* A New Approach To State Fragility

* Invisible Women: Gendered Dimensions of Return, Reintegration and Rehabilitation

* Gender Equality as an Accelerator for Achieving the SDGs

* Women, Business and the Law

* The Dynamic Impact of Periodic Review on Women’s Rights

* Applying Rights-Based Approaches: A Practical How-To Note On Integrating Principles Of Empowerment Into Almost Any Development Activity

* Securing Human Rights Through Risk-Management Methods: Breakthrough or Misalignment?

* International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy

* Unpacking Corruption Techniques and Countermeasures

* Perceptions of Corruption and Tax Non-Compliance Behaviour: Policy Implications for Developing Countries

* PEFA, Public Financial Management, and Good Governance

* Conceptual Problems of the Development of E-Democracy Mechanisms in the International Practice

* Going Digital Toolkit

* Supporting Information Integrity and Civil Political Discourse

* Introduction: The Power of Global Performance Indicators

* The Power of Ranking: The Ease of Doing Business Indicator and Global Regulatory Behavior

* IREX's Guide to Organizational Performance Improvement

* Assessing the Strength of Different Violence Monitoring Systems in Crises

* Conceptualizing, Measuring, and Theorizing Dynamic Decentralization in Federations

* Fieldwork After Conflict: Contextualising the Challenges of Access and Data Quality

* Contribution Analysis and Estimating the Size of Effects: Can We Reconcile the Possible with the Impossible?

* MEAL tools and resources

Center for International Development
Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy
State University of New York
99 Pine Street, 4th Floor
Albany, NY 12207

Anti-spam policy | Privacy policy
To ensure you receive our monthly newsletter, make sure you add cidgib@albany.edu to your address book. If you prefer not to receive future email from the Center for International Development, please UNSUBSCRIBE