23 June 2014.
Political and policy-making elites are at the centre of the challenges of inclusive development: their commitment constrains the menu of potentially inclusive policies, whilst their capacity determines the chances that these will ever be fully implemented. Arguments about the causal role of elites revolve around whether they are either inclusive or extractive, patrimonial or developmental (or both). Yet we know surprisingly little about what makes some elites more developmental than others.
Conventional arguments about elite commitment focus either on the personality traits and personal background of specific leaders, or alternatively they explore the structural features of the political settlements that elites inhabit. However, the analysis of implementation processes in developing countries highlights the limitations of either personalising or depersonalising politics: choices about policy as well as its implementation are often shaped by the constellation of political and policy-making elites at the very top. The current state of the literature suggests that the next step in trying to understand the role of elites in economic development would be to bring into the analysis the specific characteristics of elite members: What are their defining features? Have they changed over time? Continue Reading →
20 June 2014
By Kate Pruce.
ESID’s aim is to “create a robust, relevant and accessible body of evidence that will help local, national and international efforts in developing countries to secure states that are more effective at and committed to delivering inclusive development”. Rather than looking for quick fix solutions, we want to ensure scientifically rigorous evidence leading to the creation of useful knowledge about what works and what doesn’t in the field of development.
This approach is the basis for a workshop series on impact evaluation for international development, with the focus of the first workshop being on tools and methods that can be used to create a deeper understanding of the process of change. In his opening remarks Prof David Hulme set the scene within the context of increasing interest in impact evaluation, visible in DFID’s focus on evidence and the ESRC’s commitment to impact assessment. The programme was varied, with presentations ranging from studies in challenging conflict-affected environments to health, education and poverty alleviation. This provided the opportunity to tackle key debates based on empirical data and researcher experiences of the complexities of carrying out an impact evaluation in practice. Continue Reading →
17 June 2014.
by Sarah Hunt.
Over the past year training donor agency staff in Political Economy Analysis (PEA), I have found the topic inevitably means facilitating a debate. The overt aim of training is to introduce practical tools for carrying out Political Economy Analysis. But, from the outset, talking about politics in development means engaging with ideas of change – and this touches not just on the contexts where donor agencies work, but on the internal systems of donors themselves. In my experience, practitioners value the space to reflect on these issues.
Development practitioners, even outside governance portfolios, all have a grasp of how and why the politics matters for development interventions. Beginning with a reflection on political economy concepts, starts to generate a basis of shared understanding. Building a collective, systematic approach to analysis is a central aim. But delving into the ‘political’ in development provokes deep debate about the way change happens, about the dynamics of particular country and sector contexts, and about how donor agencies work. Continue Reading →
17 June 2014.
By Sabyasachi Kar.
(This post first appeared on The Hindu on 10 June 2014).
Reviving growth and checking inflation is the primary mandate that the Indian people have given to the government. It has to be understood, though, that there is no magic wand to achieve these goals. It will take time to put in place some of the institutional changes that are necessary for a return to high and sustained growth rates.
After a historic electoral battle, Indian voters have given their mandate and a new government is now in office. The government has promised the people that it will deliver on good governance and inclusive development. However, a number of challenges lie ahead, the biggest of them, without doubt, being the state of the economy. To use a term that has increasingly been employed in this context, the economy is in a state of paralysis.
So what are the most important steps that the government needs to take to help the economy recover from this paralytic state? To answer this, it is important to understand how the current state of affairs came about.
12 June 2014.
By Georgina Waylen.
Georgina Waylen looks at the role women play in transitions to democracy and the end of conflict, describing the formal and informal ways in which women can and do engage in negotiations and political settlements. She points out these notable successes, whilst at the same time arguing that international actors have a role to play in strengthening opportunities for participation in this area.
This blog first appeared on the Overseas Development Institute’s Development Progress women’s empowerment blog series in May 2014.
It has long been recognised that women – not just agitating from the outside but on the inside too – must be part of the negotiations and political settlements that accompany transitions to democracy and the end of conflict. As long ago as 2000, in the landmark UN Security Council Resolution 1325, this was embodied in demands for women’s greater participation in peace negotiations and settlements. These crucial processes often design new institutional frameworks, constitutions, electoral and legal systems. But women are often absent at key moments or present in very small numbers, and settlements have often ignored gender equity concerns. Continue Reading →