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Project Description

In 2009 SUNY/CID embarked on a project to studying an emerging trend in developing countries, the growth of Constituency Development Funds (CDFs). CDFs dedicate public money to allocations and/or spending decisions influenced by parliamentary constituencies. Unlike earmarks, CDFs generally become institutionalized in the budget and are distributed according to specific criteria for each country. CDFs have grown increasingly popular in countries around the world despite many donor agencies, multilateral institutions and good governance organization opposition.

To address the empirical gaps in understanding that surround the operation of CDFs, SUNY/CID commissioned field network studies and explored new CDFs in Kenya, Uganda, Jamaica, India, and distributive policy making in the U.S., conducted extensive desk research leading to the first comprehensive dataset on CDF administration, and has presented research on CDFs at meetings of the various Political Science Associations, at a meeting of the Parliamentary Network of the World Bank, and at a meeting of Kenya’s Parliamentary Information Network.

To gain a more detailed qualitative perspective on CDFs, SUNY/CID has collaborated with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) to engage in conversations with the members of parliament and legislative staff who implement CDFs. SUNY/CID presented at the CPA’s Annual Meeting in Kenya in 2010, co-organized a workshop with the CPA which disseminated Principles and Guidelines for CDFs in Jamaica in 2011, and conducted a workshop in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in 2012 that built on the Principles and reviewed and revised the design for a toolbox that would assist MPs and professional staff to manage CDFs in a comprehensive manner. Finally, an academic volume on CDF will appear later this year, presenting a published version of the work to date on CDFs.