January 23, 2012
  Governance Information Bulletin #33 Subscribe | Unsubscribe

Governance and Aid Strategies

Charles Kenny and Andy Sumner
In "More Money or More Development," Charles Kenny and Andy Sumner of the Center for Global Development review the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and what might their achievements mean for any second generation of MDGs or MDGs 2.0? They argue that the MDGs may have played a role in increasing aid and that development policies beyond aid quantity have seen some limited improvement in rich countries (the evidence on policy change in poor countries is weaker). Further, there is some evidence of faster-than-expected progress improving quality of life in developing countries since the Millennium Declaration, but the contribution of the MDGs themselves in speeding that progress is – of course – difficult to demonstrate even assuming the MDGs induced policy changes after 2002. The paper concludes with reflections on what the experience of MDGs in terms of global goal setting has taught us and how things might be done differently if there were to be a new set of MDGs after 2015. Any MDGs 2.0 need targets that are set realistically and directly link aid flows to social policy change and to results.


International IDEA
This extensive report by International IDEA reviews a 2011 conference jointly organized with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa of the same title. In many contexts "formal" and "informal" governance structures cannot easily be separated. Participants at the conference recognized the need to develop an approach to democracy building that seeks to match and combine these seemingly parallel systems of governance while formulating effective ways of dealing with instances where they diverge. In addition, the importance of "customizing the democratic" – and at the same time " democratizing the customary" – is essential if democracy is to be considered truly legitimate by the world’s populations. A key conclusion of the discussions was recognizing and paying attention to contextual specificity at the regional, national, or local levels.

Brian M. Burton and Kristin M. Lord
In this article written for The Washington Quarterly, Brian M. Burton and Kristin M. Lord of the Center for a New American Security discuss the outcome of the State Department’s recent Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR). They argue that although the QDDR is intended to provide a roadmap for the future of U.S. diplomacy and development, this Review should have focused on the trade-offs of alternative approaches given the State’s Department limited budgetary capabilities. The authors also argue that the QDDR must help produce real change or risk creating disillusionment with the broader effort to strength civilian power in support of U.S. national interests. The United States will risk entering a period of "smart power fatigue" that will only further sap the strength of the agencies upon which U.S. foreign policy relies.

Tom Ginsburg
In this chapter of Susan Rose-Ackerman’s Comparative Administrative Law, Tom Ginsburg of the University of Chicago Law School argues that the distinction between administrative law and constitutional law is false and that the former is more ‘constitutional’ than the latter. Further, Ginsburg claims that written constitutions do relatively little to legally constrain the administrative state. Instead, the role of constitutions is to establish the broader structural apparatus of governance and accountability. Administrative law is thus relatively free-standing and characterized by flexibility and endurance. Finally, Ginsburg concludes that the comparative study of administrative law exposes the limits of written constitutions and the existence of the unwritten constitutions of nation states.


Elections, Parties, and Parliaments

Philip Keefer
In this article published in the Asian Development Review, Philip Keefer of The World Bank examines the role of parties in determining their country’s development policy. In particular, the author examines how political parties can make commitments to development and facilitate the ability of citizens to act in their collective interest. After comparing alternative party and institutional structures with national development outcomes, Keefer finds that East Asian non-democracies possess more institutionalized parties than other non-democracies, while East Asian democracies possible equally or less institutionalized parties. The evidence suggests that greater research and policy emphasis be placed on the organizational characteristics of countries that allow citizens to hold leaders accountable.


European Parliament
In "Parliamentary Ethics: A Question of Trust," the European Parliament’s Office for Promotion of Parliamentary Democracy (OPPD) provides a generation introduction to the theory and practice of parliamentary ethics and the role of codes of conduct by offering an overview of the main issues which such codes seek to address. Further, it describes new methods of transparency such as a "legislative footprint" in which MPs publicly declare any meetings with lobbyists as well as a compulsory register of lobbyists. These innovations work to distinguish between actors who try to influence decisions through illicit means and those who can be considered as legitimacy advocacy and lobby groups. Finally, the brochure concludes by articulating the responsibilities of MPs, lobbyists, and the public in upholding parliamentary ethics.


William Case
In this monograph, William Case of the City University of Hong Kong explores the effects of strong legislatures on the emergence of new democracies in Southeast Asia. Case argues that these polities can be classified into two categories: free democracies with competitive elections and limited democracies with electoral authoritarianism. Case evaluates these different polities to determine which better enables legislatures to check executive power. After reviewing academic literature illustrating the incentives for MPs to hold executives accountable, he reviews instances of corruption in each polities and finds that MPs in new democracies are uninterested in rigorously checking the executive. However, legislatures in authoritarian democracies provide more active accountability of executives, especially among opposition MPs who do not have access to executive patronage.


Allison Hayward
In this research paper, Allison Hayward of George Mason University School of Law discusses incentives for alternative methods of voting among citizens and in legislatures. Hayward argues that hybrid models of voting combining non-debate and non-secret selection mechanisms used in absentee balloting are flawed because they carry the weaknesses of open and secret voting structures without their strengths. Instead, Hayward argues that these hybrid models should be reformed where possible to allow either open or secret models. For absentee balloting, early voting should be provided in controlled locations where protections against coercion and fraud. Further, Hayward describes other contexts in which hybrid structures can be reformed including labor unions and corporate shareholders.



Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU)
AREU's urban governance research in Herat, Charikar and Jalalabad was designed to test the hypothesis that Afghanistan’s urban transition is precipitating a crisis in local governance, stifling representation of new and old urban groups and interests, and leaving current regulatory mechanisms incapable of addressing the challenges of city growth.  This report suggests that cumbersome official mechanisms are being superseded in many instances by informal settlement or land-grabbing. It also demonstrates that municipalities are suffering a crisis of finance as their “formal” tax base fails to expand, leading municipalities to act as real-estate brokers in the markets they regulate to generate windfalls. Further, it shows that urban vulnerability is not necessarily linked to informal settlements, which often enjoy relatively good access to services and security of tenure thanks to the backing of powerful patrons. Finally, it explores the need for democratic representation for new urban constituencies, including the municipal councils promised by the constitution.



Mwangi wa Githinji and Frank Holmquist
In this working paper, Mwangi wa Githinji of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Frank Holmquist of Hampshire College explore the effects of political reform in Kenya. They argue that the repeal of constitutional provisions declaring Kenya to be a one-party state and institutional reform have failed to hold members of the political class accountable for their transgressions. Although these reforms presupposed the existence of an electorate with an effective set of identities that belonged to the larger Kenyan nation, this broader social construct did not exist. Instead, Kenya’s history of economic and political inequality resulted in a divided population that was unable to exercise this mandate and discipline politicians when they failed.


Middle East

Lucan Way
In "Comparing the Arab Revolts," Lucan Way of the University of Toronto explores the similarities between the Arab Spring and the 1989 collapse of Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe. Way argues that the experience of 1989 suggests that the democratization of Arab states will halting and incomplete. Although the diffusion effects of the rebellion originating in Tunisia resulted in mass mobilization, he argues that the structural foundation of Arab autocracies may still survive.  Way points to the international environment of Europe and notes the importance of European Union membership in making democratization a more attractive outcome. However, because the MENA region is characterized by the absence of such ties and the presence of radical Islamist factions, current authoritarians and Western powers may slow any transition to democracy.



South Sudan

Jok Madut Jok
In this United States Institute of Peace (USIP) Special Report, Jok Madut Jok discusses South Sudan and the international community’s intense focus on state building while neglecting nation building. Jok claims that South Sudanese have yet to perceive the emerging state as a reflection of themselves due to exclusion from national politics along national lines. Based on interviews with South Sudanese, Jok shows how corruption, nepotism and patronage all weaken citizen ties to the government. Thus, the South Sudanese government should create programs that promote citizenship in the nation over ethnic citizenship and develop a coherent policy regarding national languages spoken by all South Sudanese citizens.



Maria Sebastian
In this working paper, Maria Sebastian examines the dynamics of justice sector reform in Rwanda. She argues that such reforms are an arena of competition, where international development partners and Rwandan government institutions introduce contending ideas of justice through different development projects. Her study examines how international actors utilize their roles as development partners to affect accepted standards within Rwandan courts as well as how individuals within the Rwandan government perceive international partners and projects. Through an analysis of justice sector development projects and in-depth interviews, Sebastian finds that government institutions and international development partners hold the same values but prioritize them differently.


Tanzania and Uganda

Ole Therkildsen
In this working paper, Ole Therkildsen of Johannes Gutenberg University examines public  sector staff perceptions of the use of merit principles in staff management. Therkildsen specifically focuses on hiring, firing, transfer, demotion and promotion practices in the public sector in Tanzania and Uganda and how such practices influence organization performance and staff motivation to work in such ostensibly neopatrimonial (NP) settings. He argues that legal-rational and patrimonial practices can co-exist and interact and that viewing administration solely through the lens of neopatrimonialism tends to overlook the significant variations in organizational capacity in the public sector.


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) 33 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 International IDEA, the Center for a New American Security, the European Parliament, 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

* More Money or More Development: What Have the MDGs Achieved?

* Customary Governance and Democracy Building: Exploring the Linkages

* Did the State Department Get the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review Right?

* Written Constitutions and the Administrative State: On the Constitutional Character of Administrative Law

* Collective Action, Political Parties, and Pro-Development Public Policy

* Parliamentary Ethics: A Question of Trust

* Executive Accountability in Southeast Asia: The Role of Legislatures in New Democracies and Under Electoral Authoritarianism

* Bentham and Ballots: Tradeoffs between Secrecy and Accountability in How we Vote

* Governance and Representation in the Afghan Urban Transition

* Transparency without Accountability

* Comparing the Arab Revolts: The Lessons of 1989

* Diversity, Unity, and Nation Building in South Sudan

* Justice Sector Reform in Rwanda: A Space of Contention or Consensus

* Working in neopatrimonial settings: Perceptions of public sector staff in Tanzania and Uganda

Development and Governance Blogs

ForeignPolicy.com’s Turtle Bay blog covers ongoing events at the United Nations, including the appointment of Gambian judge Fatou Bensouda as the next chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

The Center for Global Development’s Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Blog reviews new and updated compacts made by the Millennium Challenge Corporation with Benin, El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, Georgia, Ghana and Zambia.

Laura Rozen’s The Envoy blog discusses the United States’ minimum conditions for negotiations with the Taliban.

At Aid on the Edge of Chaos, Ben Ramalingam explores how complexity theory provides insight into the democratization of South Africa.

The International Monetary Fund’s Public Financial Management Blog reviews the importance of "virements,", or the authority to reallocate budget appropriations, in ensuring budgetary flexibility.

Oxfam International’s From Poverty to Power reports on the recent WTO ministerial meeting involving a dispute between WTO chief Pascal Lamy and Olivier De Schutter, UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on the right to food.

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