January 9, 2013
  Governance Information Bulletin #39 Subscribe | Unsubscribe

Governance and Aid Strategies


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 11 communities across eight countries in partnership with UNDP's Global Thematic Programme on Anti-Corruption for Development Effectiveness (PACDE). The objective of this study was to document grassroots women’s perceptions and experiences of corruption in developing countries and 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.

Luis Diaz-Serrano and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose

This study by Luis Diaz-Serrano of the Economy Department (URV) in Reus, Spain and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose of the Department of Geography and Environment (LSE) in London, builds on existing work on the macroeconomic and territorial impacts of decentralization and delves into the institutional conditions influencing subjective well-being (SWB), by distinguishing between the political and fiscal dimensions of decentralization – and among its various constituents – in order to present a fuller picture of the mechanisms at work in determining the satisfaction with changes in the dimension of political institutions. It suggests that citizens are generally satisfied with decision-making that is taken by governments closer to them, but their actual capacity to implement policies efficiently is even more important for their personal satisfaction. However, the greater satisfaction with decentralization does not give to local and regional governments a carte blanche, as citizens seem more than ready to criticize subnational governments in basic aspects, such as the state of democracy, the satisfaction with government, and the satisfaction with the economic situation, if they fail to deliver.

Elections, Parties, and Parliaments

International IDEA

This publication, by the International IDEA, was prepared for the Inter-Regional Workshop on Regional Organizations and the Integrity of Elections, which took place in Stockholm in December 2011. This edited volume examines the mandates of and initiatives on electoral processes of six regional organizations: the African Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the European Union, the League of Arab States, the Organization of American States and the Pacific Islands Forum, and covers areas such as election observation, electoral technical assistance and gender mainstreaming . This publication captures the experiences of each organization, including the regional context, achievements, limitations, challenges and prospects. Each chapter puts forward recommendations directed at policymakers and practitioners.

Mandisi Tyumre
In this MA thesis at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, Mandisi Tyumre explores the current set-up in respect of the implementation of e-parliament globally, the initiatives that are being made and the challenges being experienced. A comparative analysis focuses on policies, technology, practices and organizational culture in the implementation of e-parliament, as a transitional stage towards e-democracy is made with respect to the parliaments or chambers of the Czech Republic, India, Kenya and South Africa. The outcome of this analysis has important lessons for the use of ICT to support democracy, particularly for South Africa. It also generates a number of issues, for example the importance of knowledge management and organizational design for improving the parliament-citizen interface, which require consideration by parliaments in general.

In this paper, published by Center D’Etudes et de Recherchers sur le developpement International (CERDI), Blanca Moreno-Dodson of the World Bank, Grégoire Rota-Graziosi and Clémence Vergne of Clermont Université, investigate whether foreign aid affects the probability of incumbent’s reelection and then the Schumpeterian quality of democracy in developing countries. The simple theoretical framework captures the competitiveness of elections through Tullock’s approach based on the Contest Success Function. The authors find that foreign aid increases the prize of the electoral contest stimulating the challenger to increase his campaign effort; but, the incumbent may divert part of the aid, improving his advantage and reducing political competition. They investigate empirically this effect using panel data from 60 aid-recipient countries between 1980 and 2005. The analysis shows that although foreign aid increases the incumbent’s re-election probabilities, this effect depends on recipients’ democratic level and on the nature of foreign aid, consistently with given theoretical framework. The study concludes that while financial aid increases the probability of incumbent’s re-election, political aid, especially through assistances in developing competitive electoral systems, reduces this probability.

Jeremy M. Ladd

This MA thesis at the University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada. Leading up to and following the end of the Cold War a new wave of democratization commenced in Sub-Saharan Africa and around the world which, in both cases, has been characterized by “blocked transitions,” the “rise of competitive authoritarianism,” and the proliferation of hybrid regimes. This thesis is primarily concerned with “democratic” outcomes within these hybrid regimes. Excluding data from prior to the end of the Cold War in global investigations of democracy, this thesis utilizes a temporally truncated dataset to reanalyze dominant theories of democratization both at the global and regional (Sub-Saharan Africa) level, finding that when contaminating effects are removed the strongest correlation with democratic outcomes lies in the strength of prominent opposition parties.

Laurel E. Miller, Jeffrey Martini, F. Stephen Larrabee, Angel Rabasa, Stephanie Pezard, Julie E. Taylor and Tewodaj Mengistu

The overall aim of this book-length Rand Corporation study is to bridge the academic world’s extensive investigation of democratization processes and the policy world’s interest in determining how to respond to the events of the Arab Spring. It also had a goal of producing pragmatic, policy-relevant conclusions by identifying conditions and decisions that are likely to influence whether the region’s regime changes will lead to democratization. It explores the democratization in the Mideast against the experiences in Europe, Latin America, Asia, Sub-Sahara Africa since the mid-1970s in what Samuel Huntington famously termed the “third wave” of democratization, and drew lessons that could be applied to the Arab world. It focuses on the challenges in Tunisia and Egypt because these were the only countries where revolutions had been completed when the RAND embarked on the study. The work is supplemented with an exploration of scholarly literature on democratization, including studies examining the effectiveness of foreign aid in support of democratization.


Abu Nayem Miazi and Nahidul Islam

This article by Abu Nayem Miazi and Nahidul of the Department of Law of Prime University in Dhaka, Bangladesh describes the concept of good governance in Bangladesh as a concern for aid agencies, governments, researchers, and academics. It argues that Bangladesh is victimized by poor or mal-governance which affects almost all parts of public life. Good governance is now understood to include a wide range of ways in which the whole structure of a society affects the access of its members to basic opportunities and capabilities. This paper is an attempt to evaluate the overall governance system of Bangladesh while providing ways about which Bangladesh can ensure good governance.


Taro Komatsu

This doctoral dissertation at University of Minnesota addresses whether and how the internationally driven school-based management (SBM) reform in BiH functions in enhancing schools’ roles of promoting social cohesion. The study focused on school professionals’ participatory democratic accountability and examined secondary school directors’ perceptions regarding school board influence in social cohesion areas, their interactions with school boards, and their accountability to the school-based governing body. At a broader level, the study contributes to the debate concerning international reform isomorphism. It finds that a gap exists between a global reform policy and its implementation even in a post-conflict nation where the international donor community is closely involved. The study calls for donor agencies to attend to the historical, political and economic factors that might affect school-level policy implementers when they recommend educational reforms.


Chunli Shen, Jing Jin, and Heng-fu Zou

The paper by Chunli Shen, Jing Jin, and Heng-fu Zou of the Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing, China explores fiscal decentralization in China. Fiscal decentralization in China has been a fundamental aspect of China’s transition to a market economy, and the country has made substantial effort to break down its highly centralized fiscal management system with various forms of fiscal contracting systems (1978-1993) and later a tax sharing system (1994- present). This paper provides a comprehensive review of China’s experience in fiscal decentralization, explores the impact of fiscal decentralization on economic growth and public expenditures, and identifies political as well as economic issues arising after the 1994 tax sharing reform. The current fiscal system requires immediate policy attention for its opaque and inappropriate expenditure assignment, particularly at the sub-provincial levels, the vertical fiscal gap and widening fiscal disparities, the complex and malfunctioning intergovernmental transfer system, the neglected sub-provincial fiscal arrangements, and the weakness in the vertical accountability of local governments to the Center as well as the horizontal accountability of local administrations to local needs and preferences.

Côte d’Ivoire

International Crisis Group

The International Crisis Group reports on persistent challenges to reconciliation in Côte d’Ivoire, which include struggle of getting the security apparatus back in order, stalled dialogue between the government and the opposition, return of hateful and dangerous discourses relayed by the partisan press, impartial judicial system, and difficulties faced by the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CDVR) to start its work. The report suggests that although there has been unquestionable progress and improved management of the economy, there has also been a worrying tendency by the government to duplicate some of the defects of previous regimes in Côte d’Ivoire and elsewhere in West Africa. If it continues in this direction, the legitimate government that emerged as the victor from the post-electoral crisis risks losing some of its credibility inside the country as well as the trust it enjoys from the international community on both the political and financial fronts.

South Sudan

Daniel Maxwell, Kirsten Gelsdorf and Martina Santschi

This working paper on Sudan from the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC) is published Tufts University’s Feinstein International Centre and is one of seven ‘evidence papers’ from Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lannbka, Uganda and the DRC. It paper summarizes the existing literature on livelihoods, basic services and social protection in South Sudan; presents a brief analysis of this literature, its strengths and its gaps; and lays out potential research questions for the Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium (SLRC). It provides a brief overview of the country context and the impact of the conflict with the North between 1955 and the present. The authors finds that the fact that livelihood recovery initiatives and social protection programs are underway, but have largely not taken off, makes apparent the need for further investigation into the nature of return and reintegration. There is little evidence for use in policy and program formulation, many questions about the best way to deal with land access and tenure questions, and the ability to utilize empirical findings in the formulation nof policies and programs.


Helen V. Milner, Daniel L. Nielson and Michael G. Findley

The paper by Helen V. Milner of Princeton University, Daniel L. Nielson of Brigham Young University and Michael G. Findley of University of Texas at Austin, addressees the debate over the effectiveness of foreign aid with results from a national survey and field experiment on roughly 3,600 Ugandan citizens that includes several behavioral outcomes. They argue that citizens may support foreign aid because it offers a way out of the voter’s dilemma where clientelistic networks compel voters to take particularistic payoffs in lieu of public goods. The evidence indicates that citizens perceive aid generally, and multilateral aid in particular, as more transparent and less prone to politicization. The findings suggest that recipients view foreign aid – particularly from multilateral donors – as relatively effective and are willing to undertake costly action to support it, especially compared to the most likely alternative of government programs. The findings suggest that recipients view foreign aid – particularly from multilateral donors – as relatively effective and are willing to undertake costly action to support it, especially compared to the most likely alternative of government programs.


Lam Duc Nguyen , Training Center for Elected Representatives, National Assembly of Viet Nam

This paper presented at the International Conference: on Effective Capacity Building Programmes for Parliamentarians, in Bern, Switzerland, in October 2011, examines the nature and extent of processes and programs for the development of skills and knowledge required by members of Vietnam’s elected bodies, including the National Assembly and provincial People’s Councils. The article provides a short review of the broader context of political, social–economic and institutional environment in which parliamentary development occurs. It then addresses the special approach to parliamentary training in Vietnam and examines the training process provided to Deputies, including training needs assessment, curriculum development, delivery and monitoring and evaluation. Comparative international and regional perspectives are taken into account while addressing Vietnam’s parliamentary training. The conclusion is that professional development for Deputies should be a balanced combination of best practices in modern parliamentary training with special approaches to the Vietnamese context.

Message from the Editor

SUNY/CID welcomes new and continuing readers to its Governance Information Bulletin (GIB) 39 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 cidgib@albany.edu.

In This Issue

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

* Decentralization, Subjective Well-Being, and the Perception of Institutions

* Integrity of Elections: the Role of Regional Organizations

* E-Parliament to e-Democracy: Creating a Model for Effective Management of Public Content

* Breaking the Wave of Democracy: The Effect of Foreign Aid on the Incumbent’s Re-Election Probability

* Democratic Opposition Parties and Democratic Outcomes in Hybrid Regimes

* Democratization in the Arab World: Prospects and Lessons from Around the Globe

* Prospect of Good Governance in Bangladesh: A Review

* Decentralized School Governance and Social Cohesion in a Post-Conflict Society: School Leaders’ Participatory Democratic Accountability in Bosnia and Herzegovina

* Fiscal Decentralization in China: History, Impact, Challenges and Next Steps

* Cote d'Ivoire: Defusing Tensions

* Livelihoods, Basic Services and Social Protection in South Sudan

* Which Devil in Development? A Large-N Survey and Randomized Field Experiment Comparing Bilateral Aid, Multilateral Assistance, and Government Action in Uganda

* Training for Elected Representatives in Vietnam: Context, Approach, Process

Development and Governance Blogs

A new year provides both an opportunity to look forward as well as backward. Andris Piebalgs, the European Commissioner for Development at the European Commission looks back at the various successes of EuropeAid in the past year.

Measuring progress and accountability has become increasingly important in aid. AidData's First Tranche examines the connection between data transparency and efficiency / accountability in "This Week: Is Transparent Aid Data a Gateway to More Efficiency and Accountability?"

The International Budget Partnership looks at Bosnia and Herzegovina's new budget portal which promises to provide greater transparency, accountability, and understanding of BiH's complex budget for citizens.

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