February 10, 2015
  Governance Information Bulletin 2015:1 Subscribe | Unsubscribe


Fragile States

Thomas Carrothers (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, January 2015)

Democracy aid has arrived not at a crisis, but at a crossroads, defined by two very different possible paths forward.

Julia Leininger and Sebastian Ziaja (German Development Institute, November 2014)

Western donors attempting to promote democracy across the globe face a dilemma. Democracy is a highly valued policy goal, but they are fearful that the path to democracy will undermine another highly valued goal – political stability – and potentially cause widespread violence in the recipient countries or beyond. We ask whether these fears have empirical support and how donors can balance the potentially conflicting objectives of democratisation and stability when intervening in governance matters.


Thomas Wanner and Ben Wadham (Development Policy Review, January 2015)

The inclusion of men and masculinities in gender and development policies and practices has emerged in the last decade as a critical component for achieving gender equality and women's empowerment. This article analyses the contemporary character and progress towards ‘men‐streaming’ of gender and development, and argues that implicit in any action towards gender equality and working with men is the requirement to base action on a clear understanding of the politics of masculinities and the relational aspects of gender equity and equality.

Tam O'Neil, Pilar Domingo, and Craig Valters (Overseas Development Institute, November 2014)

Tam O'Neil, Pilar Domingo and Craig Valters examine how women's empowerment is put into action as well as how the development community can contribute to its progress. The work looks at the concept and how it is put into action, as well as ways in which the development community can contribute to progress in women's empowerment. The key messages are: 1)Women’s empowerment is a process of personal and social change through which they gain power, meaningful choices and control over their lives. 2) There are many pathways to women’s empowerment but important enabling conditions include women’s collective action, constitutional and legal reform, social and economic policy measures, and changes in socio-cultural norms. 3) Empowerment is not something that can be done to or for women. Women are the agents of their empowerment. 4) To contribute to progress on women’s empowerment, the international community must support the political actions of women and their allies to change gender and other power hierarchies.

Governance, Transparency and Accountability

Alireza Shirvani, Manochehr Jouybar and Mahabad Branch (Islamic Azad University, December 2014)

Transparency in public administration is generally held to be desirable, something to be fostered and enabled. This long standing idea has gained considerable further momentum with the emergence of e-government and the affordances of computing in general and the Internet in particular. This paper examines the argument that transparency may, in certain and not uncommon circumstances, be inimical to good government and good governance and suggests that the importance of understanding why this is so has increased as information and communications technology permeates government and society. It suggests that in an electronic age, the scope and nature of transparency needs to be carefully managed, and that expectations of the benefits of ICT enabled transparency may be too high.

Varvar M. Vasileva and Anton N. Vorobyex (Higher School of Economics Research Paper, December 2014)

Assuming that there is a “missing factor” in the modern corruption studies, authors develop a new conceptual approach to the study of corruption and effectiveness of anti-corruption regulations in the public service. This “missing factor” is a “corruption market”, particularly, its size, type and nature. Corruption market’s size is defined as the number and average price of corruption deal. The nature of corruption market depends on the side, capable of setting the final price of corruption deal. Resulting from institutional characteristics of public administration, corruption markets are either seller’s or buyer’s markets. Seller’s corruption markets are sensible to ethic regulations of public service, and the only effective way of tackling buyer’s corruption markets are “cut-red-tape” reforms and introduction of compliance-based regulation of conflict of interest. Type of corruption market encompasses 3 dimensions: quality of institutions, scope of regulations and degree of regulations. Basing on the introduced model, authors identify and analyze 8 types of existing corruption markets. Each type of corruption market has its own transformational dynamics and, consequently, own opportunities for anti-corruption policies. Misidentification of corruption market’s type is the main reason for the failure of anti-corruption policies, no matter how new and effective models are imported.

Puron-Cid, Gabriel (Government Information Quarterly, July 2014)

The adoption of open government initiatives is not in vacuum. They are usually adopted in complex settings influenced by not only IT factors but also other factors from different structures, such as contextual, organizational, collaboration, knowledge, and trust. These structures come from the context in which the e-government project is embedded. The purpose of this article is to review the literature related to critical success and failure factors of ICT projects and previous findings in Puron-Cid, 2013 in order to extend them for the evaluation of open government initiatives using a case of budget transparency in Mexico. This study comprises a descriptive summary of answers from a questionnaire applied over federal and state government officials who participated in this initiative who adopted it into their practice. Due to the context of the initiative, questions about the factors from different structures including the budgeting structure were analyzed. General characteristics of the open government initiative were also examined. The main motivation of this study is to extend our understanding of possible enablers and inhibitors that public officials face during the adoption of this type of projects. Derived from the questionnaire results, a selection of practical recommendations were identified as useful for a successful adoption of open government projects.

Public Private Partnerships

Gib Bulloch and Louise James (Accenture, September 2014)

The international development landscape is evolving. From the individual sectors—public sector, private sector and civil society—we now see a steadily evolving convergence continuum that is showing the way toward a new collaborative space: the 4th sector. The convergence continuum will define the overarching dynamics shaping future operations and ways of working in international development. The 4th sector blends the best aspects of private and public sectors, and the civil society. This new ecosystem helps develop and enable new and innovative initiatives to maximize the impact of their respective competencies on the challenges of development. This report evaluates key questions: where is cross-sector convergence today, where is it going, what is driving it and what is holding it back. It also provides some recommendations for all three existing sectors to catalyze, cocreate, challenge, disrupt and nurture new ideas and approaches for global development.


Executive: Public Administration – Regulatory Agencies

Julia Black (LSE Legal Studies Working Paper, November 2014)

Regulatory disasters are catastrophic events or series of events which have significantly harmful impacts on the life, health or financial wellbeing of individuals or the environment. They are caused, at least in part, by failures in, or unforeseen consequences of, the design and /or operation of the regulatory system put in place to prevent those harmful effects from occurring. Regulatory disasters are horrendous for those affected by them. Because of that we have an obligation to learn as much from them as we can, notwithstanding all the well-known challenges related to policy and organisational learning. The article focuses on five distinct and unrelated regulatory disasters which, although they occurred in apparently unrelated domains or countries, contain insights for all regulators as the regulatory regimes share a common set of elements which through their differential configuration and interaction create the unique dynamics of that regime. In the regulatory disasters analysed here, these manifest themselves as six contributory causes, operating alone or together: the incentives on individuals or groups; the organisational dynamics of regulators, regulated operators and the complexity of the regulatory system in which they are situated; weaknesses, ambiguities and contradictions in the regulatory strategies adopted; misunderstandings of the problem and the potential solutions; problems with communication about the conduct expected, or conflicting messages; and trust and accountability structures.


(January 2015)

In 2014, the International Development Committee of the UK House of Commons held a series of hearing to evaluate DFID program looking at its work in legislative strengthening. The Committee noted that the UK Government has rightly put increasing stress on the importance of governance. Parliaments are a key part of this and are essential to meeting many of DFID's ambitions for post-2015, including increasing the accountability of Governments, reducing poverty, tackling corruption and preventing conflicts. Many parliaments in developing countries can benefit from parliamentary strengthening, but working with parliaments is difficult and set-backs are common, especially, in Fragile and Conflict Affected Countries. A representative, accountable and effective parliament is an asset in any state, and no less necessary in fragile and challenging countries. A strong parliament which has sufficient resources to scrutinise its government will inevitably ensure greater transparency and better use of state revenues including official development assistance. At the same time, the Committee suggested that in the past DFID staff have not always felt comfortable working with parliaments…”The Committee welcomes the Government's and DFID's efforts, but believes they should do more. We recommend that DFID put parliaments at the heart of its governance work; in countries where DFID has an office, parliamentary strengthening should be a standard feature of DFID's work and of ensuring long term that aid is spent effectively.

National Democratic Institute (January 2015)

The following paper summarizes recommendations gathered during the regional workshop “Roles and Responsibilities of Legislative Services in Parliaments” organized by the National Council of the Slovak Republic (NCSR) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Casta –Papiernicka, Slovakia from November 5-7, 2014. The workshop was a part of NDI‘s Western Balkans Legislative Strengthening Initiative (WBLSI), which assists parliaments in strengthening their law-making, oversight, and representation capacities. With funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), NDI organizes forums to support regional cooperation and information sharing, fostering a network between the Western Balkan legislatures and their European Union counterparts. The event brought together members of parliament (MPs) including legislative and constitutional committee chairs, deputy-chairs and members, committee staff and parliamentary legal experts from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. The participants drew on each other’s experiences--as well as those presented by colleagues from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland--regarding how parliamentary legislative services operate and provide assistance.

(AGORA 2015)

Climate change is today's single most important challenge, yet most countries are still quite poorly equipped to deal with its increasingly profound impacts. This toolkit has been developed to facilitate trainings on climate change and energy for MPs. It presents comprehensive introductions to the core issues and offers discussion questions, parliamentary action points and relevant resources.


John Prpic, Araz Taeihagh, and James Melton (Oxford Internet Institute, May 2014)

What is the state of the literature in respect to Crowdsourcing for policy making? This work attempts to answer this question by collecting, categorizing, and situating the extant research investigating Crowdsourcing for policy, within the broader Crowdsourcing literature. To do so, the work first extends the Crowdsourcing literature by introducing, defining, explaining, and using seven universal characteristics of all general Crowdsourcing techniques, to vividly draw-out the relative trade-offs of each mode of Crowdsourcing. From this beginning, the work systematically and explicitly weds the three types of Crowdsourcing to the stages of the Policy cycle as a method of situating the extant literature spanning both domains. Thereafter, we discuss the trends, highlighting the research gaps, and outline the overlaps in the research on Crowdsourcing for policy, stemming from our analysis.

David Orozco (Florida State University, November 2014)

This article defines the emergent practice of lawsourcing, which is an extension of the increasingly popular crowdsourcing model. As defined in this article, lawsourcing occurs when a party releases an open call to online participants that requests their support to achieve a legal objective. This online call may involve private or governmental participants that leverage a crowd to achieve a legal objective. Various lawsourcing techniques fall under this umbrella and are described in this article. These practices fall under the following three broad categories: legal Q&A platforms, government participation forums, and strategic nonmarket practices. As discussed in the article, lawsourcing leverages the positive economic and social aspects of crowdsourcing. These qualities provide the foundation for lawsourcing to be a disruptive force in the current legal environment. The positive attributes of lawsourcing also indicate that it can be a powerful instrument to achieve legal reform, greater transparency with respect to the quality of legal services and improved access to the legal system.

Elections and Political Parties

Nicholas Stephanopoulos, Eric Mcghee, and Steven Rogers (Vanderbilt Law Review, Forthcoming, January 2015)

Recently, two new theories on elections laws have emerged that reject conventional rights-and-interests balancing. In its place, the responsiveness theory asserts that legislators’ positions should be sensitive to changes in the views of their constituents. Similarly, the alignment theory claims that voters’ and legislators’ preferences should be congruent. Data has now become available on voters’ and legislators’ preferences at the state legislative level. We use this data to calculate responsiveness and alignment for both individual legislators and whole legislative chambers, across the country and over the last two decades. We also pair these calculations with a new database of state electoral policies that covers the areas of (1) franchise access, (2) party regulation, (3) campaign finance, (4) redistricting, and (5) governmental structure. This pairing enables us to estimate the policies’ actual effects on responsiveness and alignment. Policymakers who aim to enact beneficial reforms may do the same. And academics no longer have an excuse for debating the theories from a purely normative perspective. Now that the “is” has been intertwined with the “ought,” the “is” no longer may be ignored.

(Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, May 2014)

Politicians tied to a set of policies provide people with actual choices. They attract like-minded activists, campaign in more focused ways, and build an attractive party label. Last but not least, they are more likely to succeed in public office. Political parties in many countries are struggling to shift from personality-based or clientelistic-focused approaches—to more programme-based strategies as they reach out to voters. What features do successful programmatic parties exhibit that others lack? How is their success related to the quality of their leadership, the prosperity of the country, or the capacity of the state? What impact do economic or political crises exert on how politicians behave? Why must programmatic parties be considered together with citizens demanding better services? This book is based on the work carried out by three teams of political scientists who examined what drives and strengthens programmatic politics, even under unlikely conditions. The authors draw lessons from Brazil, Bulgaria, the Dominican Republic, India, South Korea, Ukraine, Taiwan, Turkey, and Zambia, and uses the most up to date and comprehensive research on democratic accountability and citizen-politician linkages.

Civil Society Organizations

2013 CSO Sustainability Index for Europe and Eurasia, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa
(USAID and Agha Khan Foundation 2013)

The Civil Society Organization Sustainability Index (CSOSI) has been used by USAID since 1997 to assess the sustainability of the CSO sector in 29 countries in Europe and Eurasia. The CSOSI was first applied in sub-Saharan Africa in 2009. In 2011, the CSOSI tool was further applied to seven countries in the Middle East as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Index measures the sustainability of each country’s CSO sector based on the CSOSI’s seven dimensions: legal environment, organizational capacity, financial viability, advocacy, service provision, infrastructure, and public image. By using standard indicators and collecting data each year, the CSOSI allows users of the tool to track developments and identify trends in the CSO sector over time while allowing for cross-country and cross-region comparison. It is used by CSO advocates, other development partners, and academics to assess international and regional trends in the civil society sector and to identify common obstacles impeding the sector’s sustainability, such as the legal environment, organizational capacity, and financial viability.


Results Based Programming

Ruth Levine and William Savedoff (Center for Global Development, January 2015)

This paper articulates how development assistance can promote program evaluation generally, and impact evaluation specifically, as a contribution to good governance. We argue that aid agencies are particularly well suited to fund impact evaluations, and can accelerate progress in the developing world by increasing the resources available for evaluation, particularly through a collective vehicle like the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie). Finally, we highlight the conditions that need to be in place – and require additional efforts – to yield the full benefits of collective investment in finding out what works.

Measurement & Evaluation

Cristina Ling and Dawn K. Roberts (World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6968, July 2014)

Despite the growing body of literature examining the effectiveness of transparency and accountability initiatives, there remains limited substantiation for whether and how open budgeting contributes to reductions in poverty and improvements in the lives of the poor. This paper reviews available evidence and conclude that institutional changes can contribute to higher-level outcomes in certain contexts. The approach first draws from existing studies of transparency and accountability initiatives and then follows their references to broaden the evidence base. The findings highlight the importance of measuring budget transparency, accountability, and participation and tracing their outcomes along an incremental, nonlinear results chain. Logical links or ongoing loops in this sequence include the interplay or interdependency among these three dimensions; the subsequent achievement of key, often mutually reinforcing, intermediate development outcomes; and ultimately, improved program or service delivery as the key lever for influencing development impact. Rather than establishing standard indicators, the process begins to identify which aspects of the institutional change are valid for measurement and what contextual factors to consider. Overall, this review serves as a starting point and underscores the need for further investigation to establish effective measurement practices of institutional change and build an evidence base for understanding the relative robustness of institutional change paths and the context in which they are likely to matter.

Global Partners Governance (Politically Agile Programming Paper 1, 2014)

There have always been complaints about logframes, but the frustrations have become more apparent and vocal in recent years because of two trends. The first is the recognition that effective international assistance depends on the application of a more political form of programming (most ably captured by Carothers and De Gramont’s recent book1), while the second is the ever-expanding donor emphasis on the elusive search for ‘impact’. The result is two opposing discourses. Whereas project implementers tend to start by emphasising uncertainty, and thus the need for project flexibility, so that they can adapt to - and shape - the political incentives at work, donor agencies want more proof that a project is likely to work from the outset and are, quite simply, desperate for something concrete to measure. The problems of the logframe are less about inherent strengths or weaknesses, than the way they are currently being used. Logframes can describe a project logic and theory of change, but they are terrible as a measurement of progress or project effectiveness. At present, logframes are being asked to carry a load they were not designed to bear. Project implementers need to be more creative in their arguments, providing new ways of helping donor agencies to interpret logframes and providing measures of progress that combine both quantitative and qualitative indicators, so that donors do not turn to logframes as a default option simply because there is an absence of any other, more suitable means of measuring project impact.

Political Economy Analysis/Political Sensitive Programming

Jaime Faustino and David Booth (Overseas Development Institute, December 2014)

Most development agencies, analysts and practitioners recognize that institutions shape the course of development and that, in turn, institutional change involves power and politics. An important corollary is that practical development organizations need to be capable of acting with intelligence in the political environment of partner countries, so they help promote, or at least do not stand in the way of, progressive developmental reform. Yet this poses significant challenges for organizations and professionals that were formed to deliver technical inputs and financial resources to development processes on the assumption that others will take care of the politics. Various communities of practice have been established recently to advance the general idea of thinking and working politically in development agencies. One of the obstacles they face is a lack of well documented examples of the gains from working in more politically informed ways with aid. Another is an apparent shortage of operational models that provide a coherent, evidence-based alternative to standard donor practices. This paper addresses this particular gap by describing the practice of what has been called development entrepreneurship and explaining some of the ideas from outside the field of development that have inspired it.


Elizabeth Carabine, Maggie Ibrahim, Richard Rumsey (Overseas Development Institute, December 2014)

Key findings of the paper are drawn from examining three spheres of change: programming context, organisational context, and external policy and market context. Where programming context is concerned, management systems and sectoral guidance should be ‘risk smart’; a theory of change to establish how resilience will be built and for whom; and sector programmes should be combined to address root causes of vulnerability and the participation of children and young people should be maximised. Findings around organisational context show we should adapt management systems to support resilience outcomes and processes; develop a financial tracking system to measure resilience expenditure; strengthen staff capacity through peer-to-peer learning, institutionalise an early/warning action system at multiple levels of management and capitalise on risk awareness in the aftermath of a disaster. When it comes to policy and market context the paper suggests partnership working for effective advocacy on risk reduction; mobilising resources through project based consortia; strengthening learning through multi agency partnerships and improving quality standards through innovative partnerships.

Message from the Editor

SUNY/CID welcomes new and continuing readers to its Governance Information Bulletin (GIB) 15:1 which highlights recent articles of interest for development practitioners and scholars in the area of democracy and governance. Areas of attention include: (1) development and international foreign aid, including strategies of democracy and governance assistance; (2) development and political institutions including legislative development; local governance and devolution; and public sector performance improvement and (3) program design, measurement and evaluation

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

* Democracy Aid at 25: Time to Choose

* Conflicting Objectives in Democracy Promotion: Avoiding Blueprint Traps and Incomplete Democratic Transitions

* Men and Masculinities in International Development: ‘Men‐Streaming’ Gender and Development?

* Progress on Women's Empowerment: From Technical Fixes to Political Action

* Analyzing Transparency in Process of the Creating E-Government

* Corruption Markets: An Analytical Framework for Assessing Anti-Corruption Campaigns

* Factors for a Successful Adoption of Budgetary Transparency Innovations: A Questionnaire Report of an Open Government Initiative in Mexico

* The Convergence Continuum: Towards a “4th sector” in global development?

* Learning from Regulatory Disasters

* International Development Committee (UK), Ninth Report: Parliamentary Strengthening

* Roles and Responsibilities of Legislative Services in Parliaments

* AGORA Training Toolkit: Climate Change and Energy for Parliamentarians

* A Framework for Policy Crowdsourcing

* Democratizing the Law: Legal Crowdsourcing (Lawsourcing) as a Means to Achieve Legal, Regulatory and Policy Objectives

* The Realities of Electoral Reform

* Politics Meets Policies: The Emergence of Programmatic Political Parties

* 2013 CSO Sustainability Index for Europe and Eurasia, the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa

* The Future of Aid: Building Knowledge Collectively

* Evidence of Development Impact from Institutional Change: A Review of the Evidence on Open Budgeting

* The Logframe and the Beautiful Game: Project Logic v Football Logic

* Development Entrepreneurship: How Donors and Leaders can Foster Institutional Change

* Institutionalising Resilience in Development Programming

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