April 4, 2011
  Governance Information Bulletin #24 Subscribe | Unsubscribe

Aid and Governance Strategies

Nancy Birdsall and Francis Fukuyama
In this Center for Global Development Working Paper, Nancy Birdsall and Francis Fukuyama discuss the shift away from the development model known as the Washington Consensus. Popular in the 1990s, the Washington Consensus suggested that developing countries should adopt neoliberal economic reforms to attract foreign financing. They argue that the countries pursuing this strategy most vigorously, such as Ireland and Iceland, made themselves most vulnerable to economic collapse. In addition, they suggest that technocratic state involvement in industries can help solve coordination problems and help private investors overcome the high costs involved in innovation. However, they note that such administrative capacity will only exist if state agencies are autonomous from political pressure and attract high-quality personnel. >>>

Adrian Leftwich and Kunal Sen
In this report, Adrian Leftwich and Kunal Sen of the Consortium on Improving Institutions for Pro-Poor Growth explore the importance of institutions in development outcomes. They draw from research on state-business relations in India and Africa, land reform in Malawi, contract labor and farming in India and Nigeria, and territorial development in Latin America. Extant research  argues that development professionals must work to foster new institutions and broker relationships between local organizations and individuals. This form of development is shown to be an inherently political activity which results in new ‘rules of the game’ for local socioeconomic activity. Finally, the act of engaging institutions is discussed as a long-term process that requires deep knowledge and understanding to recognize obstacles and problems that may not be initially apparent. >>>

Elisabeth King, Cyrus Samii, and Brite Snilstveit
In this review written for the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation, Elisabeth King, Cyrus Samii, and Brite Snilstveit examine the impact on social cohesion of ten project interventions in sub-Saharan Africa. After describing the different classifications of interventions, they find that community driven development (CDD) projects have positive effects on trust in community members, albeit with negative effects on inter-group relations. However, the authors also find that CDD projects were not implemented according to theories of social cohesion due to a lack of information about projects and uneven citizen participation. They conclude with a call for additional studies regarding development interventions and inter-group social cohesion, particularly those that address the puzzle of contradictory results, that establish adequate baselines and follow-up studies, that engage in additional qualitative research, and that collect data regarding the causal chain of interventions. >>>

Lisa Horner and Greg Power
In this literature review for International IDEA, Lisa Horner and Greg Power explore the relationship between the promotion of democracy and other fields of development cooperation. It articulates four main themes drawn from academia, the policy community, and donor government publications. First, they show how the development community does not explicitly consider democracy relevant to aid effectiveness and instead focus on ‘governance’. Second, they identify synergies between the aid effectiveness and democracy agendas that should lead to application of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness to parliamentary strengthening, political party support, and civil society. Third, they note that democracy strengthening is overtly political and involves a redistribution of power. Finally, democracy promotion is shown to be a context-specific activity and cannot be subject universal strategies or indicators. >>>

Michelle Parlevliet
In this article, Michelle Parlevliet of Berghof Conflict Research discusses how conflict transformation theory can be compatible with human rights principles. Approaching conflicts from a human rights framework focuses the structural conditions that produce and sustain a conflict. Parlevliet argues that this approach is most consistent with a conflict transformation perspective, one that seeks to address power imbalances and challenge the status quo. The author uses four dimensions of human rights that are relevant to building a just and sustainable peace. These include viewing human rights as legal rules, human rights as structures and institutions, human rights as relationships between states and citizens, and human rights as a process that protects identities. Finally, she discusses the practical implications of a human rights perspective by discussing work as a conflict transformation practitioner in Nepal and South Africa. >>>

Sarah Blodgett Bermeo
This paper uses data from the AidData project to analyze the association between foreign aid and the likelihood of democratization in aid recipients. Previous studies have argued that aid can entrench dictatorships, making a transition less likely. I find evidence that the relationship between aid and democratization depends on characteristics of the aid donor. During the period from 1992-2007, aid from democratic donors is often found to be associated with an increase in the likelihood of a democratic transition. This is consistent with a scenario in which aid promotes democratization and/or a situation in which democratic donors reward countries that take steps in a democratic direction. In either case, it suggests that democratic donors use scarce aid resources to encourage democracy. During the same period, aid from authoritarian donors exhibits a negative relationship with democratization. This suggests that the source of funding matters, with donor preferences regarding democracy helping to determine the link between aid and democratization. >>>

Elections, Parties, and Parliaments

Staffan Darnolf
In this conference paper, Staffan Darnolf of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems writes about how election management bodies (EMBs) and international technical assistance can influence electoral processes and effect the degree to which elections are democratic. Although EMBs and election assistance have become a regular facet of elections in developing countries, they have rarely been studied. On this basis, Darnolf reviews and classifies the activities of international election observation missions (IEOMs) and technical assistance to election authorities such as EMBs. He finds that IEOMs often fail to observe key components of electoral cycles and that technical assistance can be counterproductive because of the political sensitivities of working with local institutions.  >>>

Sheila Carapico
In this working paper, Sheila Carapico of the European University Institute compares two understandings of Western electoral assistance to Middle Eastern countries. Such activities are viewed either as an attempt by Western nations to defend their national interests and allies or as the activities of an epistemic community whose shared professional knowledge and values are used to empower Arab publics to select their leaders. These two positions are shown to be mutually exclusive and reliant on competing realist or idealist theories of state behavior. After reviewing the outcomes of Palestinian and Iraqi elections, she argues that Western states ultimately contradicted their own "codes of conduct" by rejecting the outcomes or meddling in those countries domestic politics.


Fabio Franchino and Bjørn Høyland
In this article, Fabio Franchino of the University of Milan and Bjørn Høyland of the University of Oslo explore the conditions in which parliaments intervene in executive policy-making. In particular, they examine how national MPs use directives to effect the national implementation of EU policies. This gives national MPs an opportunity to limit how ministers can stray from EU legislation and thereby impose oversight. After reviewing the transposition of 724 directives in 15 member states, the authors find that legislative involvement increases with conflict between the responsible minister and her coalition partners. They also find that parliamentary involvement decreases when the institutional advantages of the government over the legislature are higher. >>>

Collette Mireille Langlois
In “Parliamentary Privilege: A Relational Approach,” Collette Mireille Langlois of the University of Toronto discusses the evolution of parliamentary privilege. Originally conceived as a means of protecting MPs from pressure and influence from other branches of government, Langlois argues that parliamentary privilege needs to be redefined. She develops a relational approach that attempts to reconcile parliamentary privilege with the rights of constituents. By examining the concept of parliamentary privilege in Canadian legislative and judicial procedures, she identifies ways that the concept can be modernized to promote greater transparency and accountability. >>>


Noah Coburn and Anna Larson
In "Undermining Representative Governance," Noah Coburn and Anna Larson of the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit discuss the political effects of the 2010 Afghan parliamentary elections. Based on interviews in Kabul, Balkh, and Paktya provinces, they argue that the electoral process has ultimately alienated ordinary Afghans from the government. Respondents perceive the election as a way for powerful elites to legitimize control of the state for their own private interests, thereby increasing their distrust of state institutions. These perceptions were fostered by ambiguity and a lack of clarity regarding the procedures for vote counting and determining winners and losers. Further, the authors argue that this lack of transparency has permitted local actors to make political alliances that are mostly concealed from the public. >>>


Naila Kabeer with Ariful Haq Kabir
In “Citizen Narratives in the Absence of Good Governance,” Naila Kabeer and Ariful Haq Kabir of the Institute for Development Studies explore how poor citizens in Bangladesh cope with a lack of service delivery by the government. They examine the hypothesis that membership in civil society organizations can promote democratization and enhance citizens’ rights. Based on the narratives of the urban working poor, they find that civil society organizations are not inherently democratic and require a commitment to citizenship rights and relative autonomy from the state to assist marginalized workers. Further, narratives of the rural poor indicate that injustice is perpetuated by specific actors such as local elites who occupy poor people’s lands. In these examples, the state does play a more positive role through the recognition of landless peasants rights and poverty reduction programs. >>>


Heike Holbig and Bruce Gilley
In this German Institute of Global and Area Studies Working Paper, Heike Holbig and Bruce Gilley discuss the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) efforts to claim the right to rule amidst economic development and contemporary international challenges. The authors examine changes to the discourse of Chinese elites during the reform period beginning with Deng Xiaoping and throughout the last decade. They argue that the CCP has legitimized itself by shifting its discourse to emphasize economic performance, governance, and democracy. Further, they identify a transition from nationalist discourse to one that emphasizes responsive institutions which serve the public. >>>

Eastern Africa

Brian Finlay, Johan Bergenas and Veronica Tessler
In "Beyond Boundaries," Brian Finlay, Johan Gergenas and Veronica Tessler of The Stimson Center and the Stanley Foundation argue that international assistance intended for improving African security and counterterrorism capabilities can serve a dual use in providing non-traditional forms of security. The authors argue that UN Security Council Resolutions 1373 and 1540, originally passed to combat counterterrorism and nuclear proliferation, can be used to also promote development and regional stability. For example, problems such as bioterrorism can be used to leverage UN assistance to improve laboratory capacity to respond to health pandemics and empower national public health agencies. Such activities can capitalize on a virtuous circle of capacity building that strengthens governance by bridging the security/development divide. >>>


International Crisis Group
In this report, the International Crisis Group discusses how the concept of dual sovereignty has been practiced in North Kosovo, particularly in the town of Mitrovica. While Kosovo, Serbia, and the EU are currently negotiating the status of North Kosovo and ways to resolve institutional control and freedom of movement, all involved have determined that any agreement must be postponed until the status of broader regional issues involving security and development is improved. In the meantime, current institutions persist through informal intersecting and overlapping lines of authority. However, cooperation regarding criminal justice and law enforcement is non-existent and leads to a persistent distrust of the police and non-recognition of judicial structures controlled by Serbs and Albanians. >>>

Message from the Editor

Note: Back issues of the Governance Information Bulletin are now online.

Below please find SUNY/CID’s Governance Information Bulletin [GIB] that draws attention to technical matters involved in strengthening political institutions and to broader issues of aid strategies, democracy assistance, public sector performance, and to countries and regions where SUNY/CID is working.  Each entry provides a link to a larger piece of research in the title and at the end of the entry.

In this week’s GIB, please find recent reports, summaries, and publications on development by authors from the Center for Global Development, International Crisis Group, IFES, and other organizations and researchers.  

We welcome all questions, comments and suggestions at gib@cid.suny.edu.  
In This Issue

* The Post-Washington Consensus: Development after the Crisis
* Institutions and Organizations in the Politics and Economics of Poverty Reduction
* Interventions to Promote Social Cohesion in Sub-Saharan Africa
* The Democratic Dimension of Aid
* Rethinking Conflict Transformation from a Human Rights Perspective
* Foreign Aid and Regime Change: A Role
for Donor Intent

* International Election Support: Helping or Hindering Democratic Elections?
* International Elections Experts, Monitors, and Representations in the Arab World
* Legislative Involvement in Parliamentary Systems: Opportunities, Conflict, and Institutional Constraints
* Parliamentary Privilege: A Relational Approach
* Undermining Representative Governance: Afghanistan’s 2010 Parliamentary Election and Its Alienating Impact
* Citizen Narratives in the Absence of Good
Governance: Voices of the Working Poor
in Bangladesh

* In Search of Legitimacy in Post-revolutionary China: Bringing Ideology and Governance Back In
* Beyond Boundaries: Bridging the Security/Development Divide with International Security Assistance
* North Kosovo: Dual Sovereignty in Practice

Development and Governance Blogs

The Center for Global Development's Microfinance Open Book Blog is written by David Roodman and covers issues such as microloans and microcredit relevant to an upcoming book on microfinance.

Written by researchers at the Institute for Financial Management and Research, The India Development Blog covers development issues in India and its progress toward alleviating poverty.

Registan.net follows political development in Central Asia and offers critical insights into ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

PBS Wide Angle offers coverage about international relations and political development in countries around the world.

Good Intentions Are Not Enough explores the relationships between donors and recipients in the aid community and global affairs.

The Overseas Development Institute Blog discusses a wide range of current events and issues related to international development.

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