October 1, 2018
  Governance Information Bulletin 2018:3 Subscribe | Unsubscribe



Jeffrey K. Staton, Christopher M. Reenock, Jordan Holsinger, & Staffan I. I. Lindberg, (V-Dem Working Paper/SSRN, 2018)

Independent judges are thought to promote democratic regime survival by allowing perceived violations of rules limiting arbitrary power to be challenged non-violently in a fair setting, governed by transparent rules. Yet, judges are often subjected to public shaming and politically motivated removals. Courts are sometimes packed with partisan allies of the government, their jurisdiction is nearly always subject to political control and their decisions can be ignored. For all of these reasons, scholars have identified patterns of prudential decision-making that is sensitive to political interests even on the most well-respected courts in the world. If these forces all operate on judges, what, if any, are the conditions under which judges can be conceived of as defenders of democracy? How could judges subject to political pressures stabilize a democratic regime? This document summarizes a book that addresses these questions. We argue that despite these pressures judges can enhance regime stability by incentivizing prudence on behalf of elites, both those who control that state, i.e., leaders, and those on whose support leaders depend. Empirically, we leverage original data on judicial behavior, judicial institutions, and policy using a sample of all democratic political systems for over 100 years. We re-examine empirical claims of existing models of courts and democracy as well as original claims derived from our own work.

Alina Rocha Menocal and Pilar Domingo (WFD, 2018)

On 18-20 June 2018, Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) supported a conference on populism in partnership with: International IDEA, Netherlands Institute for Multi-Party Democracy (NIMD), OSCE/ODIHR, and REPRESENT. The event, held in the Belgian Senate, saw leaders from politics, civil society and academia from across the world gather to shape a “Global Agenda for the Renewal of Representation”, a guide aimed at reinvigorating the relationship between people and democracy. Alina Rocha Menocal and Pilar Domingo from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) reflect on how WFD and the broader democracy assistance community can think, learn, and adapt better to contribute to revitalizing liberal, representative democracy around the world.

Countering Violent Extremism/Peace Building

(NDI, 2018)

The aim of this toolkit is to support local activists seeking to transition their communities to a more peaceful future. Whether you are first-time activist, an individual with a project idea, or part of an established organization, this toolkit is designed to provide you with practical steps to transform and mitigate conflict and support you as you assume a more central peacebuilding role in your community. Designed with the consideration that every conflict is different, the toolkit presents transferable and adaptable tactics and techniques successfully applied in real conflict transformation processes. This toolkit is based on the principles of conflict transformation, an approach that seeks to build peace at all levels of society. Initiatives that adopt a conflict transformation approach aim to change or alter the relationships that prompted conflict and create opportunities for genuine reconciliation. However, as a local actor more attuned to community dynamics and needs, you are always best placed to analyze your own situation and decide the best course of action.


(UNDP 2018)

This report provides an analytical reflection of the content, observations and recommendations of the second global meeting on preventing violent extremism (‘Oslo II’ meeting), ‘Assessing Progress Made and the Future of Development Approaches to Preventing Violent Extremism’, held on 23–24 May 2018 in Fornebu, Norway. The meeting was organised jointly by UNDP and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take stock of progress made, share experiences and distil lessons on policy-development, research and programming on preventing violent extremism.

(WBI. 2018)

Governments in 65 economies took steps to improve women’s economic inclusion, enacting 87 legal reforms in the past two years, however, women continue to face widespread barriers, entrenched in laws, that keep them out of jobs and prevent them from owning a business by restricting their access to credit or control over marital property. In its 5th edition, Women, Business and the Law introduces scoring to better inform the reform agenda. The report tracks progress made over the past two years and identifies opportunities to ensure economic empowerment for all.

Christian Aid Ireland (Bond 2018)

This report by Christian Aid on gender-based violence identifies the most effective strategies for aid workers to use when challenging the disproportionate violence inflicted on women, girls and the LGBTQI community. Violence against women is endemic. According to the UN, worldwide, 30% of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical and/or sexual violence inflicted by an intimate partner during their lifetime. Globally, as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by a male intimate partner. Although gender-based violence disproportionately affects women and girls, it also affects men and boys and those with diverse sexual and gender identities. This report lays the blame for gender-based violence squarely at the door of gender inequality and patriarchal norms. It showcases the innovative work being done by Christian Aid and its partners to tackle the problem in five countries affected by war and conflict.

Human Rights/Rule of Law

Myrthe Vogel (SSRN 2018)

Tender-based public procurement could be a useful tool to promote compliance with human rights and labor law obligations in the execution of public contracts. However, at the same time, the instrument itself is likely to negatively affect contracting authorities’ decisions to effectively use this potential, especially during the execution phase. This paper assesses the impact of several general characteristics of tender-based public procurement in light of the promotion of human rights compliance. Could this objective for example benefit from the inherent competitive setting of a tendering procedure, the fundamental principles of public procurement and the resulting doctrine of substantial change? Does tender-based public procurement comprise any inherent barriers when using this as an instrument to promote human rights compliance? By answering these questions, the paper aims to provide a realistic perspective on the potential of tender-based public procurement as an instrument to promote human rights compliance and the barriers that should be taken into account in this regard. This could be a sensible starting point for any regulatory measures aiming to further facilitate the promotion of human rights compliance through public procurement.

Geoffrey Swenson (SSN 2018)

Legal pluralism has vast policy and governance implications. In developing countries, for instance, non-state justice systems often handle most disputes and retain substantial autonomy and authority. Legal pluralism's importance, however, is rarely recognized and dramatically under theorized. This article advances scholarly understanding of legal pluralism both theoretically and empirically. It proposes a new typological framework for conceptualizing legal pluralism through four distinct archetypes – combative, competitive, cooperative, and complementary – to help clarify the range of relationships between state and non-state actors. It posits five main strategies used by domestic and international actors in attempts to influence the relationship between state and non-state justice systems: bridging, harmonization, incorporation, subsidization, and repression. As post-conflict situations are fluid and can feature a wide range of relationships between state and non-state actors, they are particularly instructive for showing how legal pluralism archetypes can be shifted over time. Case studies from Timor-Leste and Afghanistan highlight that selecting an appropriate policy is vital for achieving sustainable positive outcomes. Strategies that rely on large scale spending or even the use of substantial military force in isolation are unlikely to be successful. The most promising approaches are culturally intelligible and constructively engage non-state justice networks of authority and legitimacy to collectively advance the judicial state-building process. While the case studies focus on post-conflict states, the theory presented can help understand and improve efforts to promote the rule of law as well as good governance and development more broadly in all legally pluralist settings.

Will Freeman (SSRN 2018)

Over the past two decades, democratically-elected governments in Latin America and East Central Europe have used the law to disable accountability institutions and concentrate power in the executive, transforming consolidated democracies into "autocratic legalist" regimes. While several scholars have identified isolated instances of institutional change to explain these developments, they have less often identified larger patterns of change within and among cases. In this paper, the author develops a new conceptual framework to clarify these patterns. He argues that autocratic legalist regimes consistently rely on three strategies to concentrate power in the executive. They colonize independent institutions with political allies; they circumvent opposition-controlled institutions by establishing parallel institutions subordinate to the executive; and they evade accountability institutions by creating legal grey areas within which the executive can exercise unchecked power. He draws on evidence from Venezuela, Hungary, and Poland to demonstrate his conceptual framework and points to a set of red flags observers can use to tell whether a democracy is on the path to becoming an autocratic legalist regime.

Geoffrey Swenson (SSRN 2018)

Promoting the rule of law in Afghanistan has been a major U.S. foreign policy objective since the collapse of the Taliban regime in late 2001. Policymakers invested heavily in building a modern democratic state bound by the rule of law as a means to consolidate a liberal post-conflict order. Eventually, justice-sector support also became a cornerstone of counterinsurgency efforts against the reconstituted Taliban. Yet a systematic analysis of the major U.S.-backed initiatives from 2004 to 2014 finds that assistance was consistently based on dubious assumptions and questionable strategic choices. These programs failed to advance the rule of law even as spending increased dramatically during President Barack Obama's administration. Aid helped enable rent seeking and a culture of impunity among Afghan state officials. Despite widespread claims to the contrary, rule-of-law initiatives did not bolster counterinsurgency efforts. The U.S. experience in Afghanistan highlights that effective rule-of-law aid cannot be merely technocratic. To have a reasonable prospect of success, rule-of-law promotion efforts must engage with the local foundations of legitimate legal order, which are often rooted in nonstate authority, and enjoy the support of credible domestic partners, including high-level state officials.

Transparency, Accountability and Anticorruption

Matthew Page (Carnegie, 2018)

The State Department and USAID can pursue an array of internal and external initiatives to combat corruption globally, especially in countries that have faced recent political transitions.

Matthew Page (Carnegie, 2018)

Corruption is the single greatest obstacle preventing Nigeria from achieving its enormous potential. It drains billions of dollars a year from the country’s economy, stymies development, and weakens the social contract between the government and its people. Nigerians view their country as one of the world’s most corrupt and struggle daily to cope with the effects. Yet few analytical tools exist for examining the full range and complexity of corruption in Africa’s largest economy and most populous country. This paper proposes a new, context-specific framework for understanding a problem that will remain a focus of international and domestic Nigerian policy discussions for decades to come. The scope and complexity of corruption in Nigeria is immense. This taxonomy details twenty overarching contexts (sectors) that are especially vulnerable to corruption. It also identifies twenty-eight corruption tactics in eight behavioral categories that cut across each of these sectors. These categories apply not only to national-level dynamics but also to corruption at the state and local levels.



B. Rosen Jacobson, K. E. Hone, J. Kurbalija (DiploFoundation 2018)

Data is often described as a critical resource of modern society, or even the oil of the new economy. Vast amounts of data are generated every day through the use of electronic devices and the Internet. The private sector has begun to harness big data sources to improve their products and services, streamline procedures, and ultimately increase revenues. Big data analysis is said to create insights that were hitherto unavailable. What is the position of diplomats, who rely on data and information in their everyday work, in this changing environment? Some ministries of foreign affairs (MFAs) and international organisations are tentatively exploring the uses of big data for policy planning, knowledge management, development, humanitarian action, and emergency response, recognising the potential benefits. Yet, there is still a large number of perceived obstacles that prevent others from stepping on board the big data train. This report aims to increase the awareness of the opportunities, limitations, and challenges of the big data trend, and to understand how MFAs could adapt their work, procedures, and organisational structures to the big data era. In this report, we provide a broad overview of the main opportunities of big data in different diplomatic fields and functions, and highlight the key issues that need to be addressed for big data diplomacy to flourish. This framework of possibilities and constraints opens up a diversity of applications and implications that can be explored in further detail, and is meant to inform MFAs that are exploring big data to adapt diplomatic practice to the datadriven era where possible and feasible.

G. Mascagni, A.T. Mengistu, & F.B. Woldeyes (ICTD/IDS 2018)

The widespread introduction of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and digitalized data management systems is one of the most important developments among African tax administrations in recent years. However, very little evidence is available on their effectiveness in practice, and how taxpayers respond to these changes. This paper starts filling this gap by reporting three sets of results from Ethiopia.

Local Governance/ Devolution/Decentralization

Tom Ginsburg (IDEA 2018)

Territorial divisions come in many forms. They occur in both federal and unitary states, and may involve divisions based on religion, language, history and identity, as well as natural resources. They can involve one region within a country or several. Because of the close association of territory and sovereignty, territorial divisions raise very high stakes issues, going to the heart of the definition the political community, national identity and statehood. They are often emotive and can seem intractable. This Constitution Brief covers the spatial arrangement of public power through constitutional design. By changing the way in which public resources and power are allocated, and autonomy and identity are recognized, constitutional arrangements related to managing territorial divisions can be critical in transforming societal division and conflict to unity and peace.

Elections and Political Parties

Andrew Ellis (IDEA 2018)

Electoral system design plays a crucial role in political settlement processes. However, it is a world with which political actors in transitions—and even to some extent the constitutional community itself—often have limited familiarity. This Discussion Paper is based on a presentation by the author at the fourth Edinburgh Dialogue on post-conflict constitution-building, held in Edinburgh, United Kingdom, on 4–5 December 2017. It argues that, while the timing, stages and sequencing of a constitutional transition might be thought to be relevant to electoral system choice, there does not currently appear to be any strong link between them.

(IDEA/RECEF, 2018)
Over the past decade, new technologies have been playing an integral role in the organization of an increasing number of elections around the world. A number of countries have turned to a variety of technological solutions in a bid to make elections more efficient and more cost- effective, and to strengthen stakeholder trust in each stage of the electoral cycle. This report documents a workshop on the use of technologies in electoral processes organized jointly by International IDEA and Réseau des compétences électorales francophones (Francophone Electoral Network, RECEF) in partnership with the National Electoral Commission of Cabo Verde and with the support of the International Organization of La Francophonie. The event took place on 22–23 November in Praia, Cabo Verde, and was attended by 60 participants from over 30 countries. At the conclusion of the event, a summary of key points was approved by the participants. The summary has been adapted for publication as Chapter 5 of this report.

Civil Society Organizations

N. Hossain, N. Khurana, S. Mohmand, et.al. (IDS 2018)

What does closing civic space mean for development? Aid donors are concerned about the implications of restrictions on civil society for their partners and programs, but to date there has been little clarity about what this means for development. This paper summarizes the findings of a literature review in support of research on this issue. It concludes that: (a) civic space has changed more than shrunk, although new restrictions affect aid-supported groups disproportionately; (b) new regulations are not all unwelcome, but nonetheless shift power from civic to political actors; (c) how that power shift shapes development outcomes depends on how political elites deploy that power, and in whose interests; (d) while there are instances where civil society has been curtailed to advance ‘developmentalist’ agendas, it more often enables land and natural resource grabbing, or the abuse of labour or other rights of marginalized and disempowered groups; (e) while short-term economic growth is unlikely to be adversely affected, economic crises are more likely in settings where civic space is closed, and it is highly improbable that development has any chance of producing equitable, sustainable, or inclusive outcomes under conditions where civic space is restricted or closing.


Theory of Change

S. Goodier, M. Apgar, & L. Clark (IDS 2018)

The purpose of this briefing note is to add to SDC’s understanding of Theory of Change (ToC), drawing on the literature and practice to sketch out the current state of the art approach. This involves expanding on ToC beyond SDC’s current practice of using Impact Hypotheses (IH) to bridge it to operational practice and use ToC more explicitly in the project/programme cycle management (PCM) processes. Sharing the state of the art on use of ToC in the development sector, this briefing note outlines what a ToC is, what it is used for and why it is needed in the development sector. It discusses ToC as both a process and a product, providing step by step guidance on how to facilitate a ToC process. The differences between a ToC and a logframe are highlighted. Some key criteria for recognising when you have a ‘good’ ToC are also included. This brief is aimed at SDC staff, in particular Programme Officers, and staff of partner organisations involved in the management of SDC interventions.

Adaptive Management

Ben Ramalingam, Inka Barnett, Carrie Oppenheimer, and Craig Valters with Kevin Hernandez, Panthea Lee, Dennis Whittle, and Leni Wild (USAID 2018)

The challenges and problems faced by international development and humanitarian agencies have long been acknowledged as some of the most complex and uncertain in the world. Calls for a more responsible and flexible approach to development are coming from many different quarters. This report looks at how real-time data initiatives in different sectors and contexts might help to underpin and strengthen adaptive management approaches in development programs and operations. Although the two movements are distinct—real-time data systems are tools and adaptive management is a management approach—examples of crossovers and overlaps exist. But exactly how these might be bridged in practice—with what strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities—is not well understood. As a result, the genuine synergies between the movements are yet to be delineated and realized. The overarching aim of this report is to address the following research question: When, where, and how can real-time data systems contribute to adaptive management practices? An evidence-based approach is needed to answer this question, drawing on literature, interviews with experts, workshops, and four country case studies.

Measurement, Evaluation & Learning

Ramona Vijeyarasa, Jose Miguel Bello Y Villarino (SSRN 2018)

Indicators have received escalated attention in the twenty-first century, both as a way of understanding legal and social environments and as a method of presenting information for further evaluation. This heightened public interest in what are most commonly institutionally-created numerical rankings or scores has been paralleled by academic attention to the question of what can, or should, be measured and how. The authors respond to Sally Engle Merry’s The Seductions of Quantification, analyzing Merry’s main critiques of the growing interest — Merry might say obsession — with quantifying progress on human rights and development. The authors begin by setting out the five stages or levels at which indicators can be considered — the ontological stage, the construction stage, the procedural and technical stage, the evaluation stage, and finally, the consequential stage. Viewing indicators through these lenses, the authors argue that Merry’s view of quantifiable measurement, while raising a valid point (i.e. the enthusiastic use of indicators hides the significant shortcomings of quantification) does not offer a balanced evaluation of how to monitor human rights through quantitative approaches, especially in terms of a cost-benefit analysis and the best means to ensure access to the relevant information presented in a particular data set. In response, the authors make a robust defense of quantifiable measurement, laying out criteria for when the process of developing and applying indicators can genuinely enhance debate, how we understanding particular human rights concerns and ultimately, human rights accountability by states.

J. Holland, R. Attah, et. al. (IDS 2018)

Mixed methods approaches are widely used in impact evaluations, but all too often a ‘methodological gap’ emerges between broad, large-scale surveys and in-depth, small-scale qualitative investigation that can be difficult to bridge. In this CDI Practice Paper we reflect on a multi-country impact assessment of cash transfer programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. Within a broader mixed methods suite of research modules we discuss specifically the design of a qualitative module that used participatory methods to integrate quantitative and qualitative data and analysis. We conclude that future impact assessment design can utilise this self-standing ‘within?module’ participatory research approach to move beyond an impact assessment norm of often poorly integrated large-scale quantitative surveys and in-depth qualitative investigation.

Message from the Editor

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

David E. Guinn

In This Issue

* Can Courts Be Bulwarks of Democracy?

* Global Agenda for the Renewal of Representation

* Community Driven Reconciliation A Gender-Sensitive Toolkit For Peace Activists

* Assessing Progress Made, and the Future of Development Approaches to Preventing Violent Extremism

* Women, Business and the Law 2018

* Gender-Based Violence Programming in Contexts Affected by Violence and Conflict

* The Added Value of Tender-Based Public Procurement as an Instrument to Promote Human Rights Compliance: What Impact May Be Expected from the Instrument?

* Legal Pluralism in Theory and Practice

* Colonization, Duplication, Evasion: The Institutional Strategies of Autocratic Legalism

* Why U.S. Efforts to Promote the Rule of Law in Afghanistan Failed

* Ten Ways Washington Can Confront Global Corruption

* A New Taxonomy for Corruption in Nigeria

* Data Diplomacy: Updating Diplomacy to the Big Data Era

* Can ICTs Increase Tax? Experimental Evidence from Ethiopia

* Constitutional Design for Territorially Divided Societies

* Electoral System Design in the Context of Constitution-Building

* The Use of New Technologies in Electoral Processes

* What Does Closing Civic Space Mean for Development? A Literature Review and Proposed Conceptual Framework

* State of the Art on Use of Theory of Change in the Development Sector

* Bridging Real-Time Data and Adaptive Management in International Development

* The Indicator Fad: How Quantifiable Measurement Can Work Hand-in-Hand with Human Rights — A Response to Sally Engle Merry's the Seductions of Quantification

* Getting the Most Out of Participatory Impact Assessment: Reflections from a Multi-Country Cash Transfer Impact Assessment

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