25 June 2018
Vasudha Chhotray and Anindita Adhikari
This week we are excited to bring together a panel of new empirical work on subnational spatial inequalities for the Development Studies Association Conference in Manchester. The uneven nature of development outcomes and the persistence of spatial inequalities within countries has led to a surge of interest in subnational research for illuminating problems that national level research misses. But this field has not paid enough attention to the role of critical political junctures and how these shape the development trajectories of subnational regions. Critical junctures such as a political regime changes, the introduction of a new social protection programs or territorial reorganization are important historical moments that can transform or reproduce spatial inequalities. Continue Reading →
Below is the list of panels and papers being convened and delivered by ESID researchers:
Date and Start Time 27 Jun, 2018 at 16:00
Authors: Badru Bukenya (Makerere University)
Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai (University of Ghana Business School)
Our research contributes to deepening understanding of the political economy drivers of spatial inequality. Drawing evidence from Ghana and Uganda, we show that politics and the character of inter-elite power relations are the central drivers of spatial inequality in Africa.
What explains the persistence of spatial development disparities between the northern and southern parts of Ghana and Uganda? Employing a political settlements framework, we argue that the historical north-south development divide in these countries is best explained by long-term processes of marginalization and adverse incorporation of the northern regions and their elites into political and bureaucratic structures, and by the nature of dominant ideas around major redistributive policies. However the growing attention to the development of the marginalized northern regions in the countries (e.g. through special development initiatives) and the subsequent reductions in the levels of poverty in these regions suggest that changes in national electoral dynamics can result in new alliances that benefit historically lagging regions.
Date and Start Time 27 Jun, 2018 at 14:00
This panel seeks to collect new evidence on (a) the magnitude of spatial inequality across and within developing countries and regions; (b) the local and aggregate costs that spatial inequality generates; c) the political economy drivers of spatial inequality including critical political junctures; (d) examples of successful policies to address spatial inequality.
Amidst growing attention to inequalities in recent years, spatial inequalities have been of particular concern not only because of the conflicts they often engender, but also because they constitute a large component of overall inequality in many developing countries. The persistence of spatial inequalities within countries is a particularly important dimension of this research and has focused attention on the subnational political unit as a basis for uncovering the most significant drivers of difference.
This panel seeks to collect new evidence on (a) the magnitude of spatial inequality across and within developing countries and regions; (b) the local and aggregate costs that spatial inequality generates, including (but not limited to) in terms of conflict and slower growth and poverty reduction; (c) the political economy drivers of spatial inequality, and d) examples of successful policies that have addressed spatial inequality. On c), we are particularly interested in political economy factors such as critical political junctures (territorial reorganization and institutional shifts for instance) which interact and transform the pre-existing political context, social configurations and institutional capacities to produce unequal development outcomes
Date and Start Time 28 Jun, 2018 at 14:00
This panel calls for papers that examine how critical political junctures such as territorial reorganization, political regime change or new forms of subaltern resistance amongst others produce variations in development trajectories in subnational units either across time or space or both.
The uneven nature of development outcomes within countries has led to a surge of interest in subnational research for illuminating problems that national level research misses (Snyder 2001). The persistence of spatial inequalities within countries has focused attention on the subnational political unit as a basis for uncovering the most significant drivers of difference (Kohli 1987, Garay 2016, Singh 2016 and others).
Within this growing body of scholarship however, limited attention has been given to the role of critical political junctures in explaining divergences in subnational development trajectories through their impact on political environments, the roles assumed by key political actors and development institutions. Some scenarios of change could include: spatial or territorial reorganisation of subnational units, institutional shifts, political regime change, new forms of identity politics or subaltern mobilisation, the introduction and expansion of social protection policies or new forms of extraction.
What are the most salient subnational inequalities and variations in development trajectories?
What are the critical political junctures that have produced these differences?
What are the historical, social, political and other characteristics of these junctures?
How do these critical junctures interact and transform the pre-existing political context, social configurations and institutional capacities to produce unequal development outcomes?
These questions aim to shed new light on persistent inequalities as well as the possibilities for change. This panel calls for papers that compare either across time or space or both, while drawing upon a critical watershed to interrogate distinctive subnational trajectories of development.
18 June 2018
A new article by Pritish Behuria in The Journal of International Development has an interesting new take on Rwandan policy making. Rwanda’s economic recovery since the genocide is largely associated with the government’s effective leadership. This paper questions that narrative, highlighting that failure—rather than consistent effectiveness—is a common feature of productive sector policies in late developing countries and that the Rwandan case is no different. Using three examples where Rwanda’s party-owned investment group (Crystal Ventures Ltd) has been used as a key agent in productive sector policies, the paper ﬁnds that outcomes of learning from failure have varied signiﬁcantly, highlighting some way to go before the government’s developmental ambitions are met.
Going against the narrative of effectiveness, this paper demonstrates how many productive sector policies have actually failed, and there has been variation in the outcomes of learning from such missteps. The paper shows how party-owned ﬁrms and the government itself had varied outcomes in relation to three forms of learning after failure: policy learning, ﬁrm learning to acquire technological capabilities and collective learning where governments and ﬁrms develop relationships based on reciprocity. The government’s increased reliance on party-owned enterprises has occurred during a period in which its relationships with some previously prominent capitalist partners have become fractured. Although local entrepreneurs remain active—often most prominently (although not only) in investment companies where their investments are pooled together—they are rarely leading business actors in any economic sector. Thus, the RPF has not maintained consistent business relationships with signiﬁcant prominent private investors in any speciﬁc economic sectors, and this has obstructed learning for productive sector policies.
The RPF government satisﬁes one condition of a developmental state: a clear commitment to development (developmental roles). Yet its ‘developmental structures ’ have not always been supportive. The paper demonstrates how different barriers have blocked learning in the ﬂowers, dairy and building materials sectors. The failure for the government and businesses to collectively learn goes against much of the apparent consensus on the Rwandan government’s effectiveness. Instead, it shows that there are several inefﬁciencies in aspects of the Rwandan government’s push for economic progress. A ‘learning orientation’ at the macro level has not translated to adaptability in policymaking in certain sectors, highlighting the importance of increased attention to learning within government and between government and businesses if Rwanda’s developmental ambitions are to be met.
Read the article online here
25 May 2018
Watch highlights of a recent in conversation event with Pablo Yanguas, author of Why We Lie About Aid and Daniel Honig, author of Navigating by Judgement.
1. Pablo Yanguas on what’s really transformative
2. Daniel Honig on autonomy
3. Pablo Yanguas on calculability