May 22, 2013
  Governance Information Bulletin #38 Subscribe | Unsubscribe

Governance and Aid Strategies

The World Bank
This paper is a product by Maksym Ivanyna and Anwar Shah, of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit, East Asia and the Pacific Region.  It provides an assessment of the impact of the silent revolution of the last three decades on moving governments closer to people to establish fair, accountable, incorruptible and responsive governance.  To accomplish this, a unique data set is constructed for 182 countries to explore success toward decentralized decision making across the globe. The data set measures government decision making at the local level rather than at the sub-national levels used in the existing literature, and it is used to rank countries on political, fiscal and administrative dimensions of decentralization and localization. These sub-indexes are aggregated and adjusted for heterogeneity to develop an overall ranking of countries on the closeness of their government to the people. The resulting rankings provide a useful explanation of the Arab Spring and other recent political movements and waves of dissatisfaction with governance around the world.

United Nations Development Programme
Corruption is global phenomenon and a major obstacle to development and economic growth in the global South. Although it affects all social classes and groups, women (and poor women in particular) are among the most affected. In order to better understand corruption from the perspective of women at the grassroots level, the Huairou Commission undertook a study of eleven communities across eight countries in partnership with UNDP's Global Thematic Programme on Anti-Corruption for Development Effectiveness (PACDE). The objective of the study was to document grassroots women’s perceptions and experiences of corruption in developing countries and bring this to important discourses regarding anti-corruption, gender equality and women’s empowerment. It is intended to direct attention to the lack of research on the gendered impact of corruption on poor communities, provide some initial insights from grassroots women and contribute to anti-corruption programming by prioritizing and bringing to the forefront grassroots women’s voices.

Hun Myoung Park and James L. Perry
The article was written by Hun Myoung Park, of the International University of Japan, and James L. Perry, of the Indiana University and Yonsei University in Indiana, and published in the American Review of Public Administration. The latter 20th and beginning of the 21st century have ushered in new forms of governance, opening the gates to what has been variously described as a “new public service,” a “multisectored public service,” and a “state of agents.” As government authority is dispersed, we increasingly rely on these new public servants for service delivery and policy implementation. But who are now the agents of the state? How might the changed makeup of a new public service alter our expectations about democratic governance? The questions we investigate in this study are, first, now that the public sector has been transformed, what are the characteristics of the agents of the new governance? And are the new public servants, in the words of Charles Goodsell, “ordinary people”? We use the General Social Survey to shed light on our focal question. Our results suggest that public servants in for-profit settings resemble traditional civil servants in many ways. The growing ranks of social, health, and education public servants in nonprofit settings are distinct in many ways from civil servants and for-profit public servants. Implications of the changing composition of the public sector in an era of transformed governance are discussed.

Michael K. Miller
The article by Michael K. Miller, of the Australian National University, published in the American Journal of Political Science, argues that autocratic regime strength plays a critical mediating role in the link between economic development and democracy. Looking at 167 countries from 1875 to 2004, the author finds that development strengthens autocratic regimes, as indicated by a reduced likelihood of violent leader removal. Simultaneously, greater development predicts democratization, but only if a violent turnover has occurred in the recent past. Hence, development can cause democratization, but only in distinctive periods of regime vulnerability. Although development’s stabilizing and democratizing forces roughly balance out within autocracies, they reinforce each other within democracies, resolving the puzzle of why economic development has a stronger effect on democratic stability than on democratization. Further, the theory extends to any variable that predicts violent leader removal and democracy following such violence, pointing to broad unexplored patterns of democratic development.

Elections, Parties, and Parliaments

The Global Centre for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Parliament
The report was created by the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament, a partnership initiative of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Inter-Parliamentary Union. It documents the efforts of legislatures to use information and communication technologies (ICT) to support their constitutional functions. The Report is based on the Global Survey of ICT in Parliaments 2012 conducted by the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament between February and May 2012, which is the third in a series of surveys that began in 2007. These surveys and their accompanying World e-Parliament report present the latest data on the worldwide use of systems, applications, hardware and tools in various parliamentary services, to provide readers with concrete examples of the adoption of ICT in the most significant areas of parliamentary business, and to promote the sharing of knowledge and experiences in technology among legislative bodies.

Rune Stubager and Rune Slothuus
Rune Stubager and Rune Slothuus focus on the political parties’ issue ownership—their perceived competence in handling issues and problems—is a major ingredient explaining voting behavior. This study is the first to bring together and evaluate four different explanations of voters’ perceptions of parties’ issue ownership: partisanship, attitudes, perceived real-world developments, and constituency-based ownership. Using novel measures implemented in a national survey, Rune Stubager and Rune Slothuus show that all four sources exert independent, if varying, influences on voters’ issue ownership perceptions. Even though voters’ partisanship tends to dominate issue ownership perceptions, attitudes and performance evaluations also matter. Moreover, the hitherto mostly neglected constituency based component of ownership has a substantial, independent influence on ownership perceptions. These findings indicate that issue ownership is more than merely an expression of partisanship and attitudes.

Oliver Walton
The report was created by Oliver Walton of the Government and Social Development Resource Center. This report addresses the links between election monitoring, voter education and election-related violence. It finds little generalizable evidence to show that election monitoring or voter education consistently lead to a reduction in levels of election-related violence. On the contrary, some cross-country quantitative studies suggest that in certain contexts, election monitoring may actually promote violence. The report outlines a number of methodological difficulties with establishing a general argument about these links. It also finds contradictory evidence on the question of which election monitoring strategies are most effective, and little analysis of comparative assessments about the relative value voter education versus election monitoring. Finally, the report highlights limited analysis of the degree to which different voter education strategies are more or less appropriate in particular environments.

Noam Lupu and Rachel Beatty Riedl
In this article, published in Comparative Political Studies, Noam Lupu of the Juan March Institute, Madrid, Spain and Rachel Beatty Riedl of the Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, lay out a theoretical framework for understanding the effects of political uncertainty on party development and strategies of mobilization and competition. Defining uncertainty as the imprecision with which political actors are able to predict future interactions, the authors identify three types of political uncertainty: regime uncertainty, economic uncertainty, and institutional uncertainty. They argue that political uncertainty is particularly high among developing democracies, contributing to puzzling empirical patterns of party development and competition in these contexts. They suggest that taking into account the role of uncertainty in the strategic decision making of party elites will help scholars better understand the differences between parties in advanced and developing democracies; it can also help scholars understand the less dramatic differences between parties even within advanced democracies.


Andrew Reynolds and John Carey
In the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit report, Andrew Reynolds, a member of the Department of Political Science and Chair of Global Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and John Carey, the Wentworth Professor of Social Sciences and chair of the Government Department at Dartmouth College, examines the relationship between the election system and representation, democracy, electoral corruption, and the broad quality of the electoral process. They explore the strategic complexity of the Afghanistan’s Single Non-Transferable Vote (SNTV) used in 34 provincial-level, multi-member constituencies with a special quota mechanism for women. The authors find that the election system has impeded the development of political parties, directed the type of campaigning conducted by candidates, and shaped voting behavior. The system also limited the efficacy of the Wolesi Jirga as a decision-making chamber situated within the framework of the Afghan state alongside the executive office of the presidency. Based on the findings, the paper explores new proposals for electoral reform and makes recommendation on how to go about these.

Côte d’Ivoire

Mike McGovern
In this article, Mike McGovern of Yale University explores the forms of punctuated time that characterize evangelical discourse in both Côte d’Ivoire and the United States. It compares forms of punctuated time that not only form the basis of End Times theology in both places, but also have served as the basis of important lobbying networks. He also analyzes the ways in which those dynamics interact with and are leveraged for political advantage in international networks of political power inflected by an evangelical ethos.  Although evangelical politics in each place has different roots, both are linked by populist anti-immigrant and Islamophobic rhetoric. Most importantly, he argues that the shared structure of eschataological temporality shapes the elective affinities that brought together such strange bedfellows as Pat Robertson and Laurent Gbagbo.


Nahomi Ichino and Matthias Schündeln
In the article published in the Journal of Politics, Nahomi Ichino, of Harvard University, and Matthias Schündeln, of Goethe University Frankfurt, study the effect of domestic observers deployed to reduce irregularities in voter registration in a new democracy and, in particular, the response of political parties’ agents to these observers. Since political parties operate over large areas and party agents may relocate away from observed registration centers, observers may displace rather than deter irregularities. Taking into account these spillovers the authors designed and implemented a large-scale, two-level randomized field experiment in Ghana in 2008, and found evidence for substantial irregularities: the registration increase was smaller in constituencies with observers; within these constituencies with observers, the increase was about one-sixth smaller on average in electoral areas with observers than in those without; but some of the deterred registrations appeared to be displaced to nearby electoral areas. The finding of positive spillovers has implications for the measurement of electoral irregularities or analysis of data collected by observers.

Ishmael I. Munene
The article by Ishmael I. Munene of Northern Arizona University was published in the Higher Education Policy.  In East Africa, no other country has witnessed as great a surge in university institutions as Kenya. The intent of this paper is to explore the persistence of the ethnic configurations in the surge of higher education in Kenya, within the context of the country’s history. Outlining the major flashpoints in the country’s history will be significant in contextualizing the contemporary ethno-configurations of university developments. The thesis of the article is that the current development of universities along tribal (In this article, the terms ethnic and tribe are used interchangeably to denote the feelings of belonging based on identifiable attributes including kinship, commensality, and a common cult) lines, though rationalized on a desire to meet increased demand and to provide high level manpower has historical antecedents, and is informed by the state’s quest for political legitimacy. By tolerating — albeit latently — ethnic patterns to inform university development, the state, which has suffered a legitimacy crisis since independence, opens an avenue to justify its raison d’ȇtre and sustain mass loyalty. Therefore, despite repeated calls to enact policies and strategies that would stem the tide of mushrooming universities along ethnic lines, the state has only demonstrated a minimal political will to act.


International Crisis Group

This first report of Crisis Group’s North Caucasus project outlines the region’s ethnic and national groups, their grievances and conflicts.  Moscow is increasingly aware of the challenge and is testing new approaches to better integrate a region that has historically been a problem for the Russian state. The systemic problems will need to be addressed for any conflict resolution effort to succeed. Though political parties based on national or religious identity are prohibited, a new law simplifying registration is likely to make it easier for politicians with nationalist agendas to infiltrate small parties. Large investments and a return to regional elections are likely to facilitate ethnic competition and mobilization if local communities feel their rights and interests are not adequately protected by the state. The Crisis Group reports that the North Caucasus is also wracked by corrupt institutions, ineffective governance, poor rule of law and uneven economic development in a combination that leaves a vacuum some dissatisfied youth seek to fill by joining groups that appear to have resolute aims. The weakness of the institutional and economic system further undermines Moscow’s efforts to implement policies to better integrate the region and combat extremism.


Aili Mari Tripp

The article, by Aili Mari Tripp for UNU-WIDER argues that  Tanzania has been relatively successful in Africa in terms of political reform. While foreign aid has helped strengthen institutions that advance accountability, it simultaneously supports a status quo that undermines accountability and democratization. It first explores the ways in which foreign donors directly strengthen civil society, parties, the media, as well as legislatures and the judiciary.  It then looks at the ways in which donor support has unintended consequences in undermining accountability through the provision of general budget support and through support of policies that undercut vertical accountability in decentralization and in public goods provision.

Message from the Editor

SUNY/CID welcomes new and continuing readers to its Governance Information Bulletin (GIB) 38 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.

In this issue, please find recent reports, summaries, and publications on development by development professionals from the World Bank, UNDP 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

In This Issue

* How Close Is Your Government to Its People? Worldwide Indicators on Localization and Decentralization

* Seeing Beyond the State: Grassroots Women's Perspectives on Corruption and Anti-Corruption

* The Transformation of Governance: Who Are the New Public Servants and What Difference Does It Make for Democratic Governance?

* Economic Development, Violent Leader Removal, and Democratization

* World e-Parliament Report 2012

* What Are the Sources of Political Parties’ Issue Ownership? Testing Four Explanations at the Individual Level

* Helpdesk Research Report: Election Monitoring, Voter Education and Election-Related Violence

* Political Parties and Uncertainty in Developing Democracies

* Fixing Afghanistan’s Electoral System: Arguments and Options for Reform

* Turning the Clock Back of Breaking with the Past? Charismatic Temporality and Elite Politics in Côte d’Ivoire and the United States

* Deterring or Displacing Electoral Irregularities? Spillover Effects of Observers in a Randomized Field Experiment in Ghana

* Our University: Ethnicity, Higher Education and the Quest for State Legitimacy in Kenya

* The North Caucasus: The Challenges of Integration (I), Ethnicity and Conflict

* Donor Assistance and Political Reform in Tanzania

Development and Governance Blogs

Sarah Jane Staats, Director of Rethinking US Foreign Assistance Program, analysis President Obama's total FY2014 international affairs budget request at the Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance Blog.

Four commentators from the Guardian, John Vidal, Mthuli Ncube, Ted R Bromund and Jayati Ghosh, reflect on impact that Margaret Teacher’s eleven years in power had on developing countries.

ModrnizeAid posts a blog by Brookings senior fellow, George Ingram, who discusses how the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) and the Foreign Assistance Dashboard are the tools Congress has been looking for to prove the value of U.S. foreign assistance programs.

Democracy Digest blogs about the report, by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which finds that the overall pace of democratic change remained stagnant in 2012.

OECD Insights reports that, according to the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee, aid from 24 of the world’s leading aid donors fell by 4% in real terms last year, the second decline in two years.

Stephanie E. Trapnell, a consultant with the Governance and Public Sector Group of the World Bank, discusses limits and possibilities of measuring progress in governance, government, and the public sector.

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