October 17, 2011
  Governance Information Bulletin #31 Subscribe | Unsubscribe

Aid and Governance Strategies

United Nations
In this UN publication, the concept of Communication for Development (C4D) is proposed as a method of empowering citizens to engage in a deliberative process about issues important to their own well-being. C4D refers to a process of social change fueled by dialogue which enables communities to participate in development-related decisions. Its first half discusses C4D approaches that reinforce the UN’s adherence to a human-rights approach, national ownership, and gender equality. These include behavior change communication, communication for social change, communication for advocacy, and strengthening an enabling media and communications environment. Its second half explores the use of C4D with related-UN agencies and how it helps those agencies achieve their mandates and objectives.


Simon Feeny and Mark McGillivray
In this article published in The World Economy, Simon Feeny of RMIT University and Mark McGillivray of Deakin University explore the extent to which increasing foreign aid will strengthen development outcomes. They argue that foreign aid has an incremental impact on economic growth. Thus, scaling-up by increasing aid flows will be an effective way to promote economic growth. Further, they also find that aid most effectively stimulates recipient economic growth at about 20 percent of a country’s GDP. For countries whose aid flows exceed 20 percent, decreasing aid may actually increase its overall efficiency and yield a higher marginal impact on economic growth. On this basis, the authors call for a more targeted scale-up of aid that takes account of a country’s unique economic conditions.

A. Carl LeVan
In this article published in Governance, A. Carl LeVan of American University argues that politically inclusive power-sharing pacts adversely affect government performance and democratization. Although used as a means to end crises related to flawed elections, such pacts have the adverse effect of undermining vertical relationships of accountability, increases budgetary spending, and creates conditions for political gridlock. The author’s analysis shows how the origins of such pacts in extra-constitutional agreements, their function in post-war settlements, and the role of time constraints suggests needed tools to mitigate against the adverse effects of such pacts. These include sunset clauses, fair human rights prosecutions, and stronger checks on executive authority. >>>
Penelope Nicholson and John Gillespie
In this introductory chapter to Law and Development and the Global Discourses of Legal Transfers, Penelope Nicholson of Melbourne Law School and John Gillespie of Monash University explore the effectiveness of transferring existing legal frameworks and institutions on law and development. Although such "international best practices" are very popular among the donor community, the authors argue that there is no clear evidence that they change behavior in ways desired by the development community but instead result in unintended consequences.  New legal statutes may not be interpreted by recipient stakeholders in ways expected by international donors. Rather than focus on problems of implementation and design, the authors suggest that donors need to better interpret and incorporate recipient demands into legal transfers.


Kimberly Marten
In this article published in National Defense University’s PRISM, Kimberly Marten of Columbia University explores the dynamics of incorporating warlord-led militias into regular security forces in states transitioning out of conflict. After illustrating how scholarly theories about institutions has failed to explain the origins of impartial security organizations, Marten reviews the existing literature on disarmament, demobilization, and the integration of and motivations of rebels in civil wars. Nonetheless, she concludes that, in the absence of historically existing institutional capability, patronage-systems may be the only way to create stability in conflict-prone states.


Elections, Parties, and Parliaments

Beatriz Llanos and Juana Nina
In this International IDEA Manual, Beatriz Llanos and Juana Nina discuss how to monitor media reports of elections for gender considerations. The authors argue that although publics tend to support female candidates at equal rates compared to male candidates, women tend to be underrepresented in reporting or framed in a less favorable light. On this basis, the Manual provides interested researchers with a framework to quantify press coverage of election campaigns in Latin America to analyze the amount of media space devoted to female candidates as well as the quality of coverage they receive. The Manual discusses necessary steps to conduct a monitoring campaign including forming a research team, defining the sample, and collecting and analyzing data.


Ajoy Datta and Nicola Jones
In this Overseas Development Institute Working Paper, Ajoy Datta and Nicola Jones explore the relationships between researchers and MPs. They argue that developing countries which lack strong parties tend to incorporate researcher perspectives into civil society organizations, which then influence lawmaking and oversight through participation in legislative committee hearings. These linkages also depend on context. East Asian and Latin American legislators use staff personnel as intermediaries to connect with think tanks and researchers. In Sub-Saharan Africa, these linkages tend to be more informal and based on personal relationships. Further, such linkages tend to be stronger for issue areas that require "hard" quantitative data like public financial management, while "soft" issue areas involve more direct advocacy by CSOs to attract MP attention.


Stuti Khemani
In this working paper, Stuti Khemani of the World Bank explores the recent trend toward grant-financed decentralization in developing countries. Khemani argues that such decentralization schemes enable politicians to target benefits to pivotal voters and organized interest groups in exchange for political support.  Decentralization is thus subject to political capture, the facilitation of vote-buying, patronage, or pork-barrel projects, at the expense of the effective provision of broad public goods. There is anecdotal evidence on local politics in several large countries that is consistent with this theory. Finally, the author explores the implications of decentralization and political capture for international development programs supporting such initiatives. >>>

Inge Amundsen
In this working paper for the Christian Michelsen Institute, Inge Amundsen explores parliamentary strengthening projects in Tanzania and thoroughout Sub-Saharan Africa. By examining the development of parliaments in Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia, the author identifies key lessons for the international community’s future attempts at legislative strengthening. In particular, the author argues that support for Tanzania’s parliament should focus on its oversight, scrutiny and control committees as well as on the institutionalization of a parliamentary fund modeled after Uganda’s Expert Advisory Fund for Committees to enhance Tanzania’s own committee system. Lastly, SUNY/CID’s work in these countries is also highlighted among other implementing agencies and donors.



International Crisis Group (ICG)
This ICG report claims that the international community has failed to achieve a politically stable and economically viable Afghanistan despite ten years of military operations and development assistance. ICG claims that state institutions remain fragile and unable to provide good governance, deliver basic services to the majority of the population, or guarantee human security. As the insurgency spreads to areas regarded as relatively safe till now, and policymakers in Washington and other Western capitals seek a way out of an unpopular war, the international community still lacks a coherent policy to strengthen the state ahead of the withdrawal of most foreign forces by December 2014. The impact of international assistance will remain limited unless donors, particularly the largest, the U.S., stop subordinating programming to counter-insurgency objectives, devise better mechanisms to monitor implementation, adequately address corruption and wastage of aid funds, and ensure that recipient communities identify needs and shape assistance policies.



Shahjahan H. Bhuiyan
In this article published in Government Information Quarterly, Shahjahan H. Bhuiyan of the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Research (KIMEP) discusses how ICT can be used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public administration in Bangladesh. Further, experience in some developing countries has shown that e-governance can improve transparency and lead to corruption control and poverty reduction. Based on the lessons learned from these successful practices, it suggests that e-governance can play a significant role for corruption control and poverty reduction, and thus offers opportunities to cost-effective service delivery to the citizens in Bangladesh.



Paula M. Pickering, Anushree Banerjee, Connor Smith, Oleg Firsin
In this article presented at the 2011 American Political Science Association Annual Conference, the authors investigate what factors affect the impact of international aid on local public administration. First, statistical analysisof municipal capacity finds that electoral competition in municipal councils and lower initial levels of municipal governing capacity are correlated with improvements in the capacity of municipal administrations that receive international aid. Second, interviews and case studies help flesh out why the variables above matter and suggest also that leadership skills that enable mayors to work constructively with business leaders, opposition party officials, and higher levels of government help improve the quality of local government. The investigation finds little support for assertions that civic organizations, which are often segmented and still weak in Bosnia, significantly contribute to improved local governance.




Ethan Michelson
In this article published in the American Journal of Sociology, Ethan Michelson of Indiana University, Bloomington, uses the case of Chinese lawyers, their professional troubles, and their coping strategies to build on and develop the concept of political embeddedness. Data from a first-of-its-kind 25-city survey suggest that political embeddedness, defined broadly as bureaucratic, instrumental, or affective ties to the state and its actors, helps Chinese lawyers survive their everyday difficulties, such as routine administrative interference, official rent seeking, and police harassment and intimidation. The article draws the ironic conclusion that legal practice in China reveals at least as much about the enduring salience of socialist institutions as it does about incipient capitalist and “rule of law” institutions. Lawyers’dependence on state actors both inside and outside the judicial system preservesthe value of political connections inside the very institutions that some sociologists have argued are responsible for obviating the need for such guanxi.



Margaret L. Satterthwaite

In this book chapter appearing in Governance by Indicators: Global Power Through Quantification and Rankings, Margaret L. Satterthwaite of New York University Law School uses Haiti as a case study to present results of empirical research and critical analysis of the use of rights-based humanitarian indicators. The author argues that data collected through an online survey, site visits, and interviews with human rights experts have unintended impacts and fails to ensure predictable services to large swathes of the population. The author suggests that this is in part because issues of coverage and scope are not as visible via monitoring and assessment tools such as indicators as project quality and outcomes. Further, although some indicators highlight successes in improving outcomes, they also inadvertently downplay the potential damage that humanitarian interventions can have on existing and nascent systems for delivering key services. Finally, the quest for data seems to become less pressing when protection issues arise. The humanitarian system appears reluctant to count rapes and evictions despite rising calls to monitor such abuses. >>>

Message from the Editor

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

SUNY/CID welcomes new and continuing readers to its Governance Information Bulletin (GIB) 31 which 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 issue, please find recent reports, summaries, and publications on development by development professionals from the United Nations, IDEA, the World Bank, ICG, and other organizations and researchers. . In addition, all previous issues can be found at the SUNY/CID website here.

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

In This Issue

* Communication for Development: Strengthening the Effectiveness of the United Nations

* Scaling-up Foreign Aid: Will the ‘Big Push’ Work?

* Power Sharing and Inclusive Politics in Africa’s Uncertain Democracies

* Interpreting Legal Transfers: The Implications for Law and Development

* Patronage versus Professionalism in New Security Institutions

* Election Coverage from a Gender Perspective: A Media Monitoring Manual

*Linkages between researchers and legislators in developing countries: A scoping study

* Political Capture of Decentralization: Vote-Buying through Grants-Financed Local Jurisdictions

* Support for Parliaments: Tanzania and Beyond

* Aid and Conflict in Afghanistan

* Modernizing Bangladesh public administration through e-governance: Benefits and challenges

* Explaining the Varying Impact of International Aid for Local Democratic Governance in Bosnia-Herzegovina

* Lawyers, Political Embeddedness, and Institutional Continuity in China’s Transition from Socialism

* Rights-Based Humanitarian Indicators in Post-Earthquake Haiti

Development and Governance Blogs

The Center for Global Development’s Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Blog discusses the 2012 Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012, which seeks to strengthen monitoring and evaluation efforts to identify successful and unsuccessful development programs.

Foreign Policy’s The Cable explores Senator John Kerry’s efforts to defend funding for the State Department and USAID threatened by the U.S. House of Representatives’ bill calling for deep budget cuts.

The World Bank’s Governance for Development blog examines the hypothesis that states which successfully engage in Public Sector Management reforms will build public support among citizens for more politically challenging organizational and structural changes.  

In this post, Owen Barder and Rita Perakis review the conclusions of the OECD Development Assistance Committee, which argues that donor countries and the aid industry has largely failed to make foreign aid more effective.

The Overseas Development Institute blog reviews the proposed agenda for change to EU Development Policy made by EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs. The new agenda prioritizes good governance and human rights, economic growth, and differentiated development partnerships.

Oxfam’s First Person blog discusses how Ghanian villagers are coping with the construction of mines that reduce their quality of life. In response, villagers have begun to petition the mining company after extensive training with local NGOs.  

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