January 1, 2019
  Governance Information Bulletin 2019:1 Subscribe | Unsubscribe



Michael A. Weber (CRS 2018)

Widespread concerns exist among analysts and policymakers over the current trajectory of democracy around the world. The aggregate level of democracy around the world has not advanced for more than a decade. Analysis of data trend-lines from two major global democracy indexes indicates that, as of 2017, the level of democracy around the world has not advanced since around the year 2005 or 2006. Although the degree of democratic backsliding around the world has arguably been modest overall to this point, some elements of democracy, particularly those associated with liberal democracy, have receded during this period. Declines in democracy that have occurred may have disproportionately affected countries with larger population sizes. Overall, this data indicates that democracy’s expansion has been more challenged during this period than during any similar period dating back to the 1970s. Despite this, democratic declines to this point have been considerably less severe than the more pronounced setbacks that occurred during some earlier periods in the 20th century.

(USAID DEC 2018)

This document reports results of the study “Effects of U.S. Foreign Assistance on Democracy Building,” commissioned by USAID’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights and Governance (DRG). The primary goal of the study was to update the earlier assessment of the effect of DRG expenditures on democratic outcomes between 1990 and 2003, using newly available data provided by USAID for the 2001-2014 period. The analyses provide estimates of the effect of USAID’s DRG expenditures on overall indices of democracy, estimates of the effects of a expenditures in four DRG sub-sector program areas, and estimates of the conditions that moderate the impact of DRG funding on recipient countries. The study covered 145 countries. The overall indices of democracy used were the Electoral Democracy Index and the Liberal Democracy Index provided by the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) database. Analyses of DRG program areas (rule of law and human rights, good governance, political competition and consensus building, and civil society and media) used customized indices based on V-Dem indicators. Data about moderators were obtained from a number of commonly used sources.

Richard Youngs, Gareth Fowler, Arthur Larok, et.al. (Carnegie 2018)

As the domain of civil society burgeoned in the 1990s and early 2000s—a crucial component of the global spread of democracy in the developing and post-communist worlds—many transnational and domestic actors involved in building and supporting this expanding civil society assumed that the sector was naturally animated by organizations mobilizing for progressive causes. In many countries, the term “civil society” came to be associated with a relatively bounded set of organizations associated with a common agenda, one separate from or even actively opposed by conservative political forces. However, in the past ten years, this assumption and outlook are proving increasingly incorrect. In many countries in the developing and post-communist worlds, as well as in long-established Western democracies, conservative forms of civic activism have been multiplying and gaining traction. In some cases, new conservative civic movements and groups are closely associated with illiberal political actors and appear to be an integral part of the well-chronicled global pushback against Western liberal democratic norms. In other cases, the political alliances and implications of conservative civil society are less clear. In almost all cases—other than perhaps that of the United States, where the rise of conservative activism has been the subject of considerable study—this rising world of conservative civil society has been little studied and often overlooked. This report seeks to correct this oversight and to probe more deeply into the rise of conservative civil society around the world.

Countering Violent Extremism (CVE)

(US, 2018)

Over the past year, the Department of State (State), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of Defense (DoD) have reviewed the significant lessons learned from past stabilization efforts. The principles for effective stabilization have been widely studied, but they have not been systematically applied and institutionalized. The review has shown that the performance of U.S. stabilization efforts has consistently been limited by the lack of strategic clarity, organizational discipline, and unity of effort in how we approach these missions. In response, the SAR report outlines how the United States can improve the outcomes of our stabilization efforts through more efficient and disciplined bureaucratic structures, processes and engagement with international partners.


Rachel Marcus (ODI 2018)

Gender discriminatory social norms are a widely recognized barrier to women’s economic empowerment, affecting both their access to 'decent work' and their experience in workplaces. The Growth and Women’s Economic Opportunities (GrOW) program (2013 and 2018), generated a wide set of insights on the barriers to and enablers of women’s economic empowerment. This report synthesizes insights from the GrOW portfolio of studies concerning social and gender norms, focusing on the role of social and gender norms in facilitating or constraining women’s access to assets, employment and entrepreneurship; the role of economic empowerment programs in shifting gender norms; the relationship between the policy and institutional environment, social/ gender norms; and women’s economic empowerment. Most of the evidence concerns the impact of social and gender norms on women’s economic opportunities. These findings help explain stagnation in women’s labor force participation in some contexts, the frequent concentration of women in relatively less lucrative sectors and occupations than men, and gendered barriers and challenges that disproportionately affect women.

Human Rights/Rule of Law

Kimana Zulueta-Fülscher and Sumit Bisarya (IDEA 2018)

A constitution-building process in a conflict-affected setting is often necessary to renegotiate access to public power and resources. The resulting constitution will ideally make the state more inclusive and, therefore, responsive to a higher number of social, political and/or economic groups, thereby contributing to sustaining peace and preventing the resumption of conflict. Who makes the constitution? How are they selected? These are crucial questions in the constitution-building process, which serve to determine the overall legitimacy of the process, and the content and success of the new political framework itself. This Policy Paper examines the types of constitution-making bodies (CMBs) present in 37 constitution-building processes that took place from 1991 to 2018 in the aftermath of conflict, and ways in which they were selected. Additionally, the paper focuses on the frequency of specific types of CMB in conflict-affected settings, and on whether the broader constitution-building process and its specific design has an impact on the type of CMB chosen.

(WJP, 2018)

Global Insights on Access to Justice is the first-ever effort to capture comparable data on legal needs and public access to civil justice on a global scale, representing the voices of more than 46,000 people in 45 countries. Global Insights on Access to Justice: Findings from the World Justice Project General Population Poll in 45 Countries presents data on how ordinary people around the world navigate their everyday legal problems, highlighting the most common legal conflicts and courses of action, whether respondents are able to resolve their legal problems, and their satisfaction with the resolution process. The study also highlights respondents’ assessment of their own legal confidence and capability, hardships experienced as a result of their legal problem, and whether any party involved in the dispute resorted to violence.

Transparency, Accountability and Anticorruption

(World Bank/OECD 2018)

This joint report identifies building blocks for more effective co-operation and is the first comprehensive global study of its kind. The content of the report is based on responses from 67 countries to a survey, which examined the organizational structure for investigating and prosecuting tax crime and corruption, as well as models for, and the experience of, inter-agency co-operation in fighting these crimes. The report found that further efforts are warranted to improve interagency cooperation, as only 55 percent of the surveyed countries require corruption investigators to report suspected tax crimes. And when it comes to information-sharing, even fewer countries mandate it — just 44 percent. The report presents a variety of lessons for overcoming barriers to cooperation and modalities through which cooperation can be effectuated.



(World Bank, 2018)

This report takes an in-depth look at how information and communication technologies (ICT) are impacting economic growth in developing countries. This new report, the fourth in the series, examines the topic of data-driven development, or how better information makes for better policies. The objective is to assist developing country firms and governments to unlock the value of the data they hold for better service delivery and decision making, and to empower individuals to take more control of their personal data. The chapters of the report explore different themes associated with the supply of data, the technology underlying it, and the demand for it. The concluding chapter considers government policies for data, including data protection and privacy.


Politically Engaged Programming/Politically Adaptive Programming

Salimah Samji, Matt Andrews, Lant Pritchett and Michael Woolcock (eds) (CID Harvard, 2018)

The PDIAtoolkit is designed to guide the reader through the process of solving complex problems which requires working in teams. The authors call it a Do-it-Yourself (DIY) kit, where a committed team of 4-6 people is mobilized to work together to solve a complex problem that cannot be solved by one person. Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA), is a step-by-step approach which helps the program team break down problems into its root causes, identify entry points, search for possible solutions, take action, reflect upon what one has learned, adapt and then act again. It is a dynamic process with tight feedback loops that allows one to build one’s own solution to a problem that fits ones local context. The PDIAtoolkit draws from two key resources. The first is the Building State Capability: Evidence, Analysis, Action book which is available as a free download and the second is a set of short videosexplaining the key concepts of PDIA.

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

* Global Trends in Democracy: Background, U.S. Policy, and Issues for Congress

* DRG Learning, Evaluation, and Research Activity : Effects of U.S. Foreign Assistance on Democracy Building : Report on Phase II Activities

* The Mobilization of Conservative Civil Society: What Conservative Civic Activism Portends for Global Civil Society

* A Framework for Maximizing the Effectiveness of U.S. Government Efforts to Stabilize Conflict Affected Areas

* The Norms Factor: Recent Research On Gender, Social Norms And Women's Economic Empowerment

* (S)electing Constitution-Making Bodies In Fragile And Conflict-Affected Settings

* Global Insights on Access to Justice

* Improving Co-operation between Tax Authorities and Anti-Corruption Authorities in Combating Tax Crime and Corruption

* Information and Communications for Development 2018: Data-Driven Development

* PDIAtoolkit: A DIY Approach to Solving Complex Problems

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