October 1, 2019
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DFID Position Paper (2019)

Open, inclusive, accountable governance is fundamental to delivering sustainable development and tackling global challenges. And it supports our national interest by contributing to international prosperity, security, and the rules-based international system. The global context for governance and development is changing rapidly. This paper sets out how DFID will adapt to those trends, building on what we have learned about how governance can help deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UK will continue to prioritize the importance of institutions and politics in lifting people out of poverty and addressing global challenges. To maximize our impact, we will implement four cross-cutting shifts: (i) Thinking and working politically across all our work; (ii) Integrating governance for growth, stability and inclusion; (iii) Being confident in our values; and (iv) Keeping DFID at the cutting edge of governance work. The paper sets out how we will promote a coherent use of all our instruments and levers to deliver these shifts through our work in partner countries, our influence and partnerships at the regional and global level, and our collaboration with the rest of government in the UK. It will mean: (i) Bringing a governance perspective to the full range of DFID efforts in-country; (ii) Providing concerted UK international engagement on governance; and (iii) Working more closely across the UK government to make more effective use of different departments’ capabilities and remits to pursue governance related goals and support the national interest.

Ilia Murtazashvili & Jennifer Murtazashvili (Forthcoming, Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice /SSRN 2019)

Externally assisted state-building efforts cost trillions but typically fail to produce states capable of providing public goods and services on their own. Drawing on the public choice literature and evidence from historical state-building processes, we argue that political self-sufficiency depends on political institutions that allow for self-governance, reasonably high levels of fiscal and administrative capacity, economic institutions that encourage wealth creation, and social institutions that reinforce political and economic freedom. Importantly, we do not expect democracy is a critical determinant of political self-sufficiency. Our theory explains why state-building in Afghanistan in the two decades since 2001 did not produce a more functional state. Despite massive international investment in blood and treasure, the state-building effort prioritized national elections over institutional reforms that encourage local self-governance, failed to establish meaningful constraints on national political decision-makers (especially the president), and disregarded customary private property rights and customary processes to adjudicate land disputes.


Open Governance Partnership (2019)

The promise of democracy is often defined by the ballot box, where citizens determine who will represent their interests in government. That promise, however, too often fails to translate to the reality of people’s daily lives. In far too many countries, citizens perceive their elected governments to be disconnected and unresponsive to their needs, or corrupt and captured by special interests. In this context, authoritarianism is on the rise again. The current wave is different–it is more gradual and less direct than in past eras. Today, challenges to democracy come less frequently from vote theft or military coups; they come from persistent threats to activists and journalists, the media, and the rule of law. The threats to democracy are coming from outside of the electoral process and our response must be found there too. Both the problem and the solution lie “beyond the ballot box.” In the eight years since Open Government Partnership’s (OGP) founding, 79 countries and a growing number of local governments–representing more than two billion people–along with thousands of civil society organizations have joined the Partnership. Collectively, they have made more than 3,800 reform commitments in more than 100 biennial action plans. This report seeks to answer the following questions: Are these commitments impactful? Do they target our society’s most pressing challenges? Are they resulting in a more collaborative, accountable way of governing? And, importantly, are they helping to protect democracy between elections?

Thomas Carothers (Carnegie Endowment, 2019)

Historically, the United States has been a galvanizing force in advancing democracy worldwide. But the current U.S. leadership has deserted this global role and damaged the country’s standing as a democratic model. Some members of the international democracy community are stepping up their efforts, but it’s unclear whether a “leadership in parts” approach will be enough to fill the vacuum.

Fragile States

Yiagadeesen Samy and David Carment (Politics and Governance 2019)

While significant amounts of foreign aid have been allocated to the group of so-called fragile and conflict-affected states in recent years, it is not clear whether that aid is targeted to where it is most needed. This article focuses on aid targeting in fragile states by using the Country Indicators for Foreign Policy fragility index together with sectoral aid flows from the OECD Creditor Reporting System. Specifically, it considers six country-cases from a three-fold typology of states and evaluates the performance of these countries in terms of their fragility relative to the types of aid that they have received. The article argues that aid is poorly targeted in fragile states and by considering the sectoral allocation of aid it also contributes indirectly to the related issue of aid effectiveness.

Conflict, Conflict Mitigation and Peacebuilding

William Avis (GSDRC 2019)

This rapid literature review presents the key literature that discusses current trends in violent conflict. The focus is upon recent ideas that are prevalent in literature from post-2015. The literature review draws on both academic and grey literature. The review includes both quantitative analyses of conflict data sets and qualitative analyses. The first section provides a summary of trends in conflict and the second provides an annotated bibliography highlighting some of the key papers and their findings.

Notre Dame University – USAID Learning Lab (DEC 2019)

People-to-People (P2P) projects, where people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds participate in a program together, have been a component of the Conflict Management and Mitigation program of USAID in Israel/West Bank since 2004. The idea of these programs is that personal connections between opposing groups can promote better understanding and decrease the likelihood of violence. The short-term results of each program are evaluated consistently, but this is the first study designed to look at their lasting results on vested participants. Notre Dame University’s Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) looked at four partners who had received funding for these “People to People” programs in Israel/West Bank within the last ten years, three or more years after the specific programs had finished, to measure their longer-term effects on participants. The methods included interviews of key individuals, focus groups of participants and online surveys. These programs all brought together either Arab and Jewish Israelis or Israeli Jews and Palestinians. Three to five years after the programs, participants shared that they: 1. Had continued positive feelings about the other; 2. Felt that this was a unique opportunity to know the other; 3. A significant percentage stayed connected, primarily through social media; 4. Had an increased belief that peace is possible; and 5. Held a changed perception of the other thanks to the programs’ activities. Positive results were especially noted when programs included education or personal narratives. While some self-selection into the programs occurred (i.e. people who were interested joined more frequently and in future rounds), NDIGD documented that these programs provided participants tangible examples and experiences that could be shared with wider networks. The results point to the significance of these activities, especially to create and nurture popular support for peaceful solutions to the conflict.

(Mercy Corp/USAID 2019)

Persistent violence between farmers and pastoralists in Nigeria has contributed to more than 7,000 deaths in the past five years and costs the Nigerian economy $13 billion a year. Communities in the Middle Belt that once cooperated over natural resources are competing for increasingly scarce land and water as climate change intensifies, sparking migration further south in search of available resources. Underdevelopment and poor governance further contribute to a breakdown in traditional agreements, and farmer and pastoralist communities are fast becoming polarized as clashes take on religious and ethnic overtones. In response, Mercy Corps and Pastoral Resolve (PARE), implemented the USAID-funded Engaging Communities for Peace in Nigeria (ECPN), from 2015 to 2019 in the Middle Belt states of Benue and Nasarawa. The program included a combination of training leaders to mediate disputes, dialogue forums and projects jointly designed and implemented by farmers and pastoralists. To test the program’s effects on peacebuilding outcomes, Mercy Corps used a randomized controlled trial (RCT) at the community level to examine the overall impact of the program on communities. They triangulated the results of the community-level RCT with a pre-/post-program analysis of individuals within communities to see how outcomes among direct participants — those most engaged in program activities — differed from outcomes among indirect participants — those living in intervention communities who were merely exposed to program activities. They also compared direct and indirect participants with those in control communities with no exposure to the program at all. Overall, findings indicate that ECPN improved the conditions for peace in the communities in which it operated and among the individuals who participated most in activities that brought farmers and pastoralists together regularly. Specifically, they found: (i) intergroup contact and trust between farmer and pastoralist communities increased or deteriorated significantly less in ECPN sites than in control sites, even as regional tensions increased; (ii) perceptions of security increased significantly more in ECPN communities than in control communities; and (iii) among individuals, as a result of the program, direct participants’ attitudes and behaviors improved more than those of indirect participants in ECPN communities, who in turn improved more than individuals in control communities.

Human Rights/Rule of Law

Mehdi Shadmehr, Raphael Boleslavsky & Tom Ginsburg (SSRN 2019)

Why do some autocracies empower their judiciaries to uphold human rights even though independent judiciaries can prevent the repression of opposition? We develop a theoretical framework to explain why dictatorships benefit from judiciaries that restrict the government's use of coercion, thereby addressing the contradiction between the function of independent judiciaries and their institutional origins. By granting a degree of judicial independence, the regime shapes how the public views the state's use of coercion. When the judiciary is more effective in preventing state repression, the public will have more confidence in the legitimacy of coercive acts that are not blocked by the judiciary. This shifts public opinion against the opposition in favor of the regime, reducing the public's incentive to support the opposition. Unlike propaganda and censorship that directly control the information that citizens receive, partially independent judiciaries enable autocracies to control how the public processes the informational content of coercion.

Karla Hoff & James Sonam Walsh (World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8954, 2019)

How does law change society? In the rational actor model, law affects behavior only by changing incentives and information -- the command and coordination function of law. Under the view that humans are social animals, law is also a guidepost for social norms that regulate behavior -- the expressive function of law. This paper proposes a third function of law: the schematizing function -- based on cognitive research that shows that individuals cannot think without categories. Law makes possible new kinds of exemplars, role models, and social interactions that give people prototypes that transform the categories they use, thereby reframing their options and influencing their behavior. This paper illustrates the schematizing power of law with examples from field and natural experiments. Like the one-two punch in a boxing match, the command and schematizing functions of law together can change society in situations where the command function alone would be ineffective or backfire.

Karla Hoff & James Sonam Walsh (World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8954, 2019)

How does law change society? In the rational actor model, law affects behavior only by changing incentives and information -- the command and coordination function of law. Under the view that humans are social animals, law is also a guidepost for social norms that regulate behavior -- the expressive function of law. This paper proposes a third function of law: the schematizing function -- based on cognitive research that shows that individuals cannot think without categories. Law makes possible new kinds of exemplars, role models, and social interactions that give people prototypes that transform the categories they use, thereby reframing their options and influencing their behavior. This paper illustrates the schematizing power of law with examples from field and natural experiments. Like the one-two punch in a boxing match, the command and schematizing functions of law together can change society in situations where the command function alone would be ineffective or backfire.

Wayne Sandholtz (KFG Working Paper Series, No. 38, Berlin Potsdam Research Group “The International Rule of Law – Rise or Decline?”/SSRN 2019)

Modern rule of law and post-war constitutionalism are both anchored in rights-based limitations on state authority. Rule of law norms and principles, at both domestic and international levels, are designed to protect the freedom and dignity of the person. Given this “thick” conception of the rule of law, authoritarian practices that remove constraints on domestic political leaders and weaken mechanisms for holding them accountable necessarily erode both domestic and international rule of law. Drawing on political science research on authoritarian politics, this study identifies three core elements of authoritarian political strategies: subordination of the judiciary, suppression of independent news media and freedom of expression, and restrictions on the ability of civil society groups to organize and participate in public life. According to available data, each of these three practices has become increasingly common in recent years. This study offers a composite measure of the core authoritarian practices and uses it to identify the countries that have shown the most marked increases in authoritarianism. The spread and deepening of these authoritarian practices in diverse regimes around the world diminishes international rule of law. The conclusion argues that resurgent authoritarianism degrades international rule of law even if this is defined as the specifically post-Cold War international legal order.

Transparency, Accountability and Anticorruption

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (DEC 2019)

This assessment was a key element in the CSIS project on Transparency, Good Governance and Citizen Security. The goal of this project is to develop new ways to address corruption and citizen security in the three countries of the Northern Triangle—El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—based on best practices being implemented in Chile, Colombia, and Uruguay. The choices of those three countries was based in part on the recognition that with respect to transparency, anti-corruption and rule of law, Chile and Uruguay stand out, and that with respect to citizen security, important advances have been made in all three countries. This approach also provides the basis for new and innovative forms of South-South technical cooperation. An innovative element of the South-South cooperation aspect of the project was to conceptualize from the outset the participation of both government agencies and civil society organizations in all six countries in analyzing current challenges and possible solutions with respect to anti- corruption, good governance and citizen security.


Executive/Public Administration/Regulatory Agencies

(Bond 2019)

This toolkit provides principles and a description of the core elements of a safeguarding report-handling mechanism. The elements and principles described in the toolkit can help the user evaluate the safeguarding reporting-handling mechanism to identify strengths, weaknesses, or gaps. Well-functioning safeguarding report-handling mechanisms will prevent as well as respond to concerns and incidents because they: increase awareness of safeguarding policies; log concerns for early detection of harm caused by staff, operations, and programs; demonstrate organizational commitment; increase awareness of how concerns, incidents, and reports are handled; reduce impunity; and rapidly respond to stop any further harm.

Zenobia Ismail (GSDRC 2019)

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) experience capacity constraints relating to their small size, remoteness and dispersion (in the case of island archipelagos), which impinge on the quality of the public sector. This rapid literature review summarizes the evidence on public sector reform and capacity building initiatives in SIDS. Overall, the evidence indicates that the success of public sector reforms and capacity building programs in SIDS is modest. However, some useful lessons emerge from the implementation of E-government in Seychelles, pooled service delivery in the Pacific and regional collaboration in the Caribbean and Pacific.

Legislatures/Deliberative Bodies

David E. Guinn (14th Workshop of Parliamentary Scholars and Parliamentarians, 2019)

This paper explores how working in a conflict/post conflict environment shaped developmental programming, its design and implementation within three USAID funded legislative strengthening projects implemented by SUNY Center for International Development: Afghanistan Parliamentary Assistance Project (2005-2013); the Legislative Strengthening Project in Cote d’Ivoire (2012-2017); and the Strengthening Governing Institutions and Processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2013-2018). The goal is to compare and contrast the impact of the local context (political/social/cultural) and its effect on politically engaged programming (i.e. programming strategies falling under the TWP umbrella), examine possible shared substantive overlaps among the three, and consider what insights might be gleaned from those programs relative to the variations under the TWP.

Anthony Staddon (14th Workshop of Parliamentary Scholars and Parliamentarians, 2019)

Over the last ten years significant progress has been made in developing parliamentary assessment frameworks to assist Parliament assess its overall performance at a given moment. Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Members and Parliamentary staff were the first to conceptualize and create a set of agreed Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Legislatures in 2006 to reflect good Commonwealth parliamentary practice and provide a minimum standard on how a Parliament should be constituted and how it should function. Reflecting new parliamentary developments and practices as well as international developments such as the Commonwealth Charter and the implementation of the 2015 United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Benchmarks were reviewed and updated in 2018 and now being promoted and implemented across the 180 Legislatures of the CPA. This paper is organized as follows. The next section discusses the merits of benchmarking for Parliaments. The following section reviews the use of the original 2006 benchmarks and the development of regional versions. The third section introduces the new version of the Benchmarks and the paper concludes by making some observations of the implementation of the new framework following the first three facilitated self-assessments in South Africa, Malaysia and Belize.

Sue Griffiths & Alison Suttie (14th Workshop of Parliamentary Scholars and Parliamentarians, 2019)

This paper is a case study of a project in which Global Partners Governance (GPG), an organization delivering international parliamentary support, introduced post-legislative scrutiny (PLS) into the parliament of Kyrgyzstan. The work formed part of a four-year DFID program, Government in Action, which aimed to improve the responsiveness of the Kyrgyz political system and in particular, the way in which it considers the needs of businesses, supporting more inclusive economic development. Part of the project involved working with MPs and committees to create more citizen-focused forms of accountability in an institution which had previously been very focused on the passage of legislation. PLS was a key component of GPG’s strategy to help shift political incentives away from an incessant stream of new legislation and towards oversight and evidence-based consideration of the real effect of laws on people and businesses. This paper considers the extent to which this strategy was effective and why.

Fotios Fitsilis & Franklin De Vrieze (14th Workshop of Parliamentary Scholars and Parliamentarians, 2019)

The United Nations 2030 Agenda is a global framework for sustainable development. While the Executive in each country has a mandate to implement the respective measures, parliaments are entrusted with passing the related legislation as well as overseeing its implementation. This paper sheds light on the engagement of parliaments to control implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For this purpose, institutional and non-institutional measures from a wide range of parliaments were evaluated and a general assessment framework has been developed, leading to the determination of a set of basic types of dedicated parliamentary bodies that handle SDG related issues and the nature of their cooperation with extra-parliamentary stakeholders. In this context, the Post-Legislative Scrutiny concept, which assesses both legal and impact dimensions of law implementation, has been studied, in order to prove whether it constitutes a viable long-term contribution to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs. Based on examples of good practice, the paper presents tangible recommendations and urges parliaments to upscale action related to the achievement of the SDGs, as an additional means to strengthen their own position in the institutional system.


Aníbal Pérez Liñán & Andrea Castagnola (SSRN 2019)

How effective are institutional reforms in protecting judicial independence? We analyze all constitutional reforms affecting the design of Supreme Courts and Constitutional Tribunals in Latin America since 1900. Conventional wisdom indicates that certain institutional features should strengthen the judiciary. For instance, a constitutionally fixed number of justices will make “court packing” more difficult, and longer terms in office will protect judges from electoral cycles. Nomination processes involving multiple actors will produce fewer partisan justices, high requirements for impeachment will protect judges from legislative threats, and explicit powers of judicial review will assure politicians’ compliance with judicial decisions. We show, however, that institutional reforms often undermine judicial independence, even when they appear to improve constitutional design along these crucial dimensions. The reason for this paradox lies in the consequences of those reforms for judicial stability. Because major reforms produce turnover in Supreme Courts and Constitutional Tribunals, they create new opportunities for parties to appoint loyal judges and politicize the courts. Two mechanisms link institutional reforms with judicial turnover. In the short run, reformers exercise (and abuse) “constituent” power, restructuring the courts in ways that force the resignation of incumbent justices or create new vacancies. In the long run, formal constitutional protections for the judiciary create a strategic trap. If parties can use informal instruments, such as threats and bribes, to induce the resignation of judges, their incentives to deploy those blunt instruments are greater when justices are completely isolated from milder forms of political influence. We test those arguments with evidence for more than three thousand justices serving in Supreme Courts and Constitutional Tribunals of the US and 18 Latin American countries since 1925.

Alvaro Javier Pérez-Ragone (SSRN 2019)

Judicial attention has come to be a scarce resource: (i) the rate of cases per judgeship has grown precipitously in lower, appeal, and supreme courts; (ii) there are reasons to discuss various proposals that scholars and judges have offered in response to the rising caseload, including ways to reduce the number of filings, increase the number of judges, and improve efficiency in the courts with appropriate case and court management principles; (iii) there are frameworks to be taken into account regarding access to the courts and the effective protection of rights; (iv) the demand for judicial attention will continue to exceed the supply of judicial time. Court and case management are critical components within an efficient judicial system. They depend on the court structure and arrangements within and between the courts both from a horizontal and from a vertical point of view. The structural design of a judicial system depends on multiple factors, one major is the legal cultural context. The horizontal arrangement has three important components: (i) on the one side the specialization of the courts; (ii) on the other side the distribution of cases within the court with the flexibility to adapt to the importance and/or the complexity of the case (single judge, panel of judges, etc.); (iii) the implementation of IT and artificial intelligence to assist the courts. Additionally, to the horizontal arrangements, reference should be made to the vertical ones. They are related to the interplay between superior and lower courts. The role and ends of appeal to the supreme courts, the filter to access, the caseload and scope of review, the organization taking into account that the number of judges in superior courts is not the same as in the lower courts, justify the filters to access. The crisis in the administration of justice must be attacked and treated on several fronts because the problem has several causes that are fed back to time.

Andrew Cesare Miller (SSRN 2019)

How can the state promote the rule of law in communities with criminal groups? Criminal groups often engage in bloody turf battles with quasi-impunity, undermining the state's monopoly on violence. The state struggles to contain criminal violence partly given to a lack of police-citizen cooperation. Moving beyond theories that explain limited cooperation as exclusively a function of police illegitimacy, the author argues that social psychological constraints prevent citizens from sharing information with the police. Criminal groups inflate citizens' judgements of retaliation risk and create misperceptions among citizens that few other community members support sharing information. The author tests strategies for overcoming these constraints in Lagos, Nigeria with the first large-scale survey experiment incorporating virtual reality. Witnesses share 17% more information when a tip line is made anonymous. They share 9% more information after becoming aware of others cooperating. Exposing witnesses to co-ethnic police officers also increases information-sharing by 15% but only for those that ex-ante trust the police.

Local Governance

Michael Henry Yusingco (SSRN 2019)

The growing complexity of government mandates means that roles and responsibilities between levels of government are no longer clear cut. Responsibilities overlap, policy areas interact, and many public issues cut across several levels of government and require multiple competencies. As such, Intergovernmental Relations or IGR has become an integral component of good governance, coherent public policy making, and efficient delivery of public services. This brief article will delve on a theoretical discussion of IGR and proceed to discuss IGR in the context of the Philippines and the newly created Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). It will analyze potential benefits in utilizing IGR mechanisms to address current problems as well as examine challenges in implementing IGR in the Philippines.

(UNDP 2019)

Much of the public expenditure critical for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – such as expenditures on rural roads, irrigation, health and education – is managed locally by subnational governments (SNGs). Due to the low own-source revenue capacity of most subnational governments, fiscal transfers from central governments are essential for making these expenditures possible and thus for making progress to achieve the SDGs. The resourcing, design and administration of the various fiscal transfer instruments, the way they are allocated across SNGs, and the way they incentivize subnational governments all matter greatly for achieving the SDGs. This report summarizes experiences in fiscal transfers in Asia and makes key recommendations to help improve these areas: resourcing of fiscal transfers; design of fiscal transfers; administration of fiscal transfers; making expenditures more equitable across SNGs; and positive performance incentives for SDG-related service delivery.

Elections and Political Parties

Oliver Joseph and Frank McLoughlin (IDEA 2019)

Free, fair and trusted elections provide legitimacy to governments and ensure the genuine expression of the will of the people. Electoral justice guarantees electoral processes are conducted with integrity and that mechanisms exist to restore electoral integrity when it has been violated. Intentionally or unintentionally electoral norms may be violated by those who design, administer or participate in an electoral process. The manner in which these violations are addressed can determine the overall legitimacy of an electoral outcome and the level of trust in the electoral process. The realization of electoral justice requires a set of institutions, practices, norms and mechanisms that culminate in fair and open processes—not simply on election day but throughout the electoral cycle. The Electoral Justice System Assessment Guide is designed to support users to assess the administration of electoral justice in their country. Inclusivity and accessibility are important elements of electoral justice. The questions in the Assessment Guide reflect key electoral justice principles, drawing on international standards and an analysis of diverse electoral justice practices from many countries around the world.


Results Based Programming

Paul Clist (Development Policy Review 2019)

Payment by results is a relatively new way of giving development aid, where a recipient’s performance against pre‐agreed measures determines the amount of aid they receive. Advocates for the mechanism argue it provides donors with both a ready justification for maintaining aid budgets and better results through innovation and autonomy. It has proved popular, with most bilateral aid donors having at least experimented with the mechanism and the variety of measures stretching from individual health workers being paid for each procedure, to national governments being paid for students’ test scores. However, there has not been a robust assessment of whether Payment by Results (PbR) achieves its aims for greater effectiveness. I synthesize the evidence from eight projects fully or partially funded by DFID, the recognized world leader on PbR. This represents the best evidence currently available, and is critically analyzed using the leading theoretical framework that breaks each agreement into its constituent parts. I find no evidence that PbR leads to fundamentally more innovation or autonomy, with the overall range of success and failure broadly similar to other aid projects. This may partly be due to the current use of Payment by Results, with no readily identifiable examples of projects that truly meet the idealized PbR designs. Advocates of PbR may thus conclude the idea is yet to be tested. I argue PbR does not deal with the fundamental constraints that donors face, and so it is unsurprising that PbR is subject to the normal pressures that affect all aid spending.

Politically Engaged Programming/Politically Adaptive Programming

Sam Hickey (SSRN 2019)

The role of bureaucratic ‘pockets of effectiveness’ (PoEs) in driving development is generating renewed interest within development studies and, to an extent, development policy. Existing research on PoEs emphasizes that politics plays a leading role in shaping the emergence and sustainability of high-performing public sector organizations. However, the field as yet lacks a clear sense of the conditions under which this happens, partly because of a tendency to see PoEs as ‘islands’ that are divorced from their political context, and partly because there has been no attempt as yet to undertake systematic comparative analysis of PoEs across different types of political context. This paper sets out the conceptual and methodological underpinnings of a new project that seeks to address these problems within the context of sub-Saharan Africa. Drawing on an alignment of political settlements analysis with critical theories of state power and African politics, the paper argues that PoEs are both shaped by, and help to reproduce, particular forms of politics and institutions in sub-Saharan Africa. This means that PoEs are not simply interesting objects of enquiry in and of themselves, but also because they can reveal a good deal about how the competing logics of regime survival, state-building and democratization are playing out in Africa and what implications this has for development. The paper proposes a methodological approach for identifying and exploring PoEs and briefly summarizes the results of the expert surveys that we undertook in our four initial countries, namely Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia, which were chosen to represent different types of political settlement. These surveys resulted in our project focusing mainly on the economic technocracy as the key domain within which PoEs have flourished, particularly in terms of ministries of finance, central banks and revenue authorities, along with some other interesting outliers and underlying processes of state-building. Further papers from this project will include in-depth case studies of these specific PoEs and processes in each country, synthesized country analyses and comparative overviews.

Giles Mohan (SSRN 2019)

The pockets of effectiveness (PoEs) debates and political settlements literature are rooted in particular forms of political economy analysis. At one level, this is a positive contribution to the mainstream development policy literature and allows us to characterize political systems and their power relations, as well as forcing us to pay close attention to the dynamics of state institutions. Yet, these literatures are disconnected from a tradition of more critical political economy analysis and state theory. This brief review is a first attempt to connect these bodies of theory, largely in an African context. We find some promising new (and old) avenues of inquiry to connect critical political economy to PoE work, largely in terms of various meso-level theories of how states function, which move us away from all-encompassing metatheories of the state. Such meso-level theories enable us to theorize the more fine-grained and developmentally positive institutions that constitute PoEs, since much of the meta-theory tends to be both broad brush as well as causally pessimistic, insofar as African states are rarely seen to engender positive developmental outcomes. These meso-level theories can also be more easily elaborated methodologically, which is vital, since most of the claims about state capacity and function require contextual empirical analysis.

Measurement, Evaluation & Learning

John Mayne (CDI 2019)

While contribution analysis provides a basis for making causal claims and understanding how and why change occurs, it does not on its own estimate the relative importance, much less the size, of the causal factors at work. In this CDI Practice Paper John Mayne discusses ways of assessing the relative importance of such causal factors, while arguing that there are likely no quantitative answers to the question. Rather, there is a need to carefully articulate the relative importance question, decide which causal factors one wants to compare, and to decide how one wants to interpret ‘importance’. A variety of perspectives are possible: perceived influence, the roles played by the factors, the funds expended, and the extent of the constraints to change. All are plausible ways of assessing the relative importance of causal factors.

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.

In This Issue

* Governance for Growth, Stability and Inclusive Development

* The Political Economy of State-Building

* 2019 Global Report: Democracy Beyond the Ballot Box

* International Democracy Support: Filling the Leadership Vacuum

* Aid Targeting to Fragile and Conflict-Affected States and Implications for Aid Effectiveness

* Current Trends in Violent Conflict

* Expanding the Reach of Impact Evaluations in Peacebuilding: A Retrospective Evaluation of CMM P2P Activities in Israel/West Bank

* Does Peacebuilding Work in the Midst of Conflict?

* Security and Justice Evidence Mapping Update

* Judicial Independence and Human Rights in Autocracies

* The Third Function of Law is to Transform Cultural Categories

* Resurgent Authoritarianism and the International Rule of Law

* South-South Cooperation in Transparency, Anti-Corruption and Citizen Security: Final Report

* Safeguarding Report-Handling Toolkit

* Public Sector Reform and Capacity Building in Small Island Developing States

* Working in Conflict/Post-Conflict Environments: Exploring How Context Shapes Programming and Informs Thinking and Working Politically

* Recommended Benchmarks for Democratic Parliaments

* Post Legislative Scrutiny Case Study: Connecting Parliament with the Public in Kyrgyzstan

* Parliamentary Oversight of Sustainable Development Goals and the Application of Post-Legislative Scrutiny Principles

* The Reform Paradox: Judicial Institutions and Judicial Instability

* An Approach to Case Management from the Horizontal and Vertical Structure of Court Systems

* Promoting the Rule of Law in Communities with Criminal Groups: Experimental Evidence from Lagos, Nigeria

* IGR is a Vital Component of Good Governance

* Fiscal Transfers in Asia: Challenges and Opportunities for Financing Sustainable Development at the Local Level

* Electoral Justice System Assessment Guide

* Payment by Results in International Development: Evidence from the First Decade

* The Politics of State Capacity and Development in Africa: Reframing and Researching ‘Pockets of Effectiveness’

* Pockets of Effectiveness: The Contributions of Critical Political Economy and State Theory

* Assessing the Relative Importance of Causal Factors

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