3 February 2015
By Pablo Yanguas.
Last week DFID’s research team hosted representatives from four research programme consortia on development, including ESID, for a debate and set of presentations on what we have found so far and what – if anything – DFID can do about it. Without going into details – there were surveys, concepts, migrants, onions, and even vampires – it was yet another interesting opportunity to witness that uncomfortable interface between academic and practitioner frustrations.
In a very polite and reasoned way, researchers shouted to DFID staff that “context matters, reality is complex, and you’d better take politics into account!” while DFID staff in turn shouted back that “we too are subject to a political context, and you’d better show us how what you are suggesting would work in practice!” Of course, this being a professional event in the UK, there wasn’t any actual shouting; but one could sense the deep-seated frustration, misunderstanding, even recrimination underlying the entire event.
Eventually, we ended up where all these meetings seem to end: with the realisation that everyone needs to do more to facilitate stronger researcher-practitioner linkages. Which is not a bad message at all. But it still makes me wonder what comes next. Continue Reading →
19 January 2015 [29 December 2014, original post].
By Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay.
Is the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) suffering a midlife crisis or are we staring at its death? From a budget of ₹401 billion in 2010-11, it has plummeted to ₹330 billion in 2013-14. Given the much higher wages currently offered to workers, it has taken a serious hit.
The position taken by government officials (and many economists) is that there is a general lack of interest in MGNREGS. The rise in agricultural real wages over 2004-05 to 2011-12, coupled with a general dismay regarding quality of assets produced and evidence of corruption, has led to a call for a scaling down of the rural job guarantee scheme. The natural question is: should MGNREGS be retired or scaled down, having served its purpose or does it need a revamp? And if so, what issues have to be addressed? Continue Reading →
15 January 2015 [5 December 2014 original post].
Bangladesh’s economy has recorded remarkable economic performance in the new millennium, though its per capita income has remained low. Even more spectacular has been the steady improvement in its levels of many social development outcomes. Popular commentaries have drawn comparisons with India and Pakistan in highlighting the significance of Bangladesh’s development achievements. This phenomenon has been termed the “Bangladesh conundrum”, and has received extensive coverage in international media outlets, such as the New York Times, the Economist and the Wall Street Journal.
But is Bangladesh’s social progress surprising, and if so, then in what respect and to what extent? To answer this question, we must systematically investigate the country’s path to development. Bangladesh’s achievements in several dimensions of social development are indeed surprising when compared to other economies at similar levels of economic development. In a research paper published last month in World Development (Asadullah, Savoia, and Mahmud, 2014), we present these findings by drawing upon data on Bangladesh and over 100 other developing countries for the past four decades (1971–2010). Continue Reading →
15 January 2015.
By Henry Chingaipe.
The Effective States and Inclusive Development (ESID) Research Programme has commissioned a multi-country study on the comparative politics of public sector reforms (PSR) in Africa, with case studies on Malawi, Ghana, Uganda and Rwanda. In this post, I show how the basic research questions apply to the case of Malawi. I highlight the salient political economy parameters that characterise the public sector environment and shape, for good or worse, the design and, more importantly, the implementation of public sector reforms. Continue Reading →
13 January 2015.
Among those engaged in policy and planning of development, there is growing recognition that politics and institutions matter for inclusive development. However, the specific ways in which they shape possibilities, across different types and forms of development, and in different contexts, remains poorly understood. What is needed is guidance about what could be done to make political contexts more responsive to inclusive development.
The newly published book, The Politics of Inclusive Development: Interrogating the Evidence, edited by ESID Research Directors, Sam Hickey and Kunal Sen, and Research Associate, Badru Bukenya, is ESID’s first major academic collection. It draws on a large number of studies provided by ESID’s multidisciplinary, multinational network of partners. The research helps to make the understanding of development more politically savvy, by developing the theoretical apparatus and knowledge base to support better informed development policy and practice.
Highly topical, while also grounded in social science theory, the book provides: