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Working paper 139
Addisu A. Lashitew, Michael L. Ross and Eric Werker
The ‘resource curse’ is often understood to imply poor growth in the non-resource sectors of the economy, but research into the diversification performance of resource-rich countries is limited. This paper surveys recent evidence and identifies empirical patterns in the economic diversification of resource-rich countries. Diversification is measured using the growth of per capita non-resource (manufacturing and services) sectors in domestic and export markets, which has a cleaner interpretation than competing measures. This measure is used to evaluate the long-term diversification of countries that started off as resource-dependent, and to rank countries according to their performance. We then identify policy-relevant correlates of diversification at the national level, including the acquisition of human capital, public and intellectual capital, and firm dynamism. More resource–dependent countries appear to perform worse on measures of human capital and intellectual capital, but more resource–abundant countries perform better on public capital and human capital accumulation. We examine the mechanisms behind diversification performance through in-depth case studies of Oman, Laos and Indonesia, and conclude by identifying policy lessons and future research directions.
Working paper 138
The new phase of social protection expansion in the Global South remains poorly understood. Current interpretations use problematic evidence and analysis to emphasise the influence of elections and donor pressure on the spread of social transfers in sub-Saharan Africa. We seek a more nuanced explanation, testing an alternative theoretical and methodological framework that traces the actual process through which countries have not just adopted but institutionalised social transfers. Two main pathways emerge: one involves less electorally competitive countries, where the primary motivation is elite perceptions of vulnerability in the face of distributional crises, augmented by ideas and resources from transnational policy coalitions. The other entails a primary role for transnational policy coalitions in adoption, before competitive elections and the need for visible distribution drive institutionalisation. Consequently, the latest phase of social transfer development results from the interplay of political survival strategies and transnational policy coalitions.
Working paper 137
Maternal health, and in particular the issue of reducing maternal mortality, has been a prominent feature of the global health policy agenda for the past three decades. However, maternal health has rarely become a political priority at national levels, with policy uptake and implementation proving relatively disappointing. In this paper, we compare the experience of Rwanda, Bangladesh, Uganda and Ghana in reducing maternal mortality, relating policy uptake and, in particular, implementation to the underlying balance of power and institutions, or political settlement, on which these countries’ politics is based. Rwanda’s ‘dominant-developmental’ political settlement has enabled a vigorous, joined-up approach to maternal mortality reduction, while, at the other end of the spectrum, Ghana’s inclusive-competitive settlement has been less effective in matching policy commitment with implementation. Uganda and Bangladesh’s more intermediate settlements present a more mixed experience. The paper argues that policy reformers should try to optimise their maternal mortality reduction strategies within the context of the political settlement in which they operate. That implies a government-supporting strategy in more dominant developmental settlements, while engaging non-state actors or building out from pockets of effectiveness in other types.
Working paper 136
Marja Hinfelaar, Danielle Resnick and Sishuwa Sishuwa
This paper tracks how the Patriotic Front (PF) – Zambia’s main opposition from 2006 to 2011, when the party won power – shifted its strategies of dealing with the urban poor, civil society and the middle class, in order to manage its vulnerability. While all three groups fully supported the PF in 2011, they are now in a more ambivalent position, thereby creating insecurity for the ruling regime. We contextualise these dynamics vis-à-vis Zambia’s broader political landscape, from 2001 to date, relying on historical processing tracing, in-depth interviews with key elite actors and a survey with informal traders. Using the case study of the PF, the paper demonstrates how political settlements can deepen the analysis of how and why particular strategies for dominance emerge in a given context, where the threats to this dominance emerge, and why governing elites target particular groups for co-optive or coercive interventions. It concludes that, due to its size and influence, the PF’s hold on Lusaka is crucial to its survival past the 2021 elections. Consequently, it is anticipated the party will continue to exert repressive pressure on sources of countervailing power and opposition and co-opt poorer but numerically large support bases (e.g. marketeers and vendors)
Working paper 135
As optimism about the ‘third wave’ of democratisation has waned in the face of continued and renewed authoritarianism across the world, analyses of authoritarian dominance remain focused primarily on the national scale. We are argue that cities, and especially capital cities, play crucial roles in the production of dominance and the politics of maintaining it, as well as being sites of popular resistance. However, the varying ways in which governing elites deploy their resources and strategies in the urban arena in pursuit of dominance remain underexplored. In this conceptual framing paper for a multi-country comparative study spanning Africa and Asia, we suggest that strategies for urban dominance can be analysed in accordance with two overlapping modalities: interventions that are generative by design (their primary intention is to create some new form of support); and those that are repressive by design (their primary aim is to destroy or inhibit some form of opposition). We then present a typology of strategies that cut across these spheres of intervention and include co-optation, legitimising discourses, legal manoeuvres, coercive distribution and violent coercion. This framework is designed to inform empirical analysis of strategies of urban dominance, how these change over time and how they are deployed in varying combinations, facilitating a deeper understanding of how struggles for control shape urban outcomes.
Working paper 134
Uganda has had an uneven history and experience around gender equity policy reforms, particularly, from the late 1980s and early 1990s to-date. These range from the countrywide constitutional review processes of the early 1990s, legislative activism and reforms around domestic relations, land/property rights, and women’s access to public position, to mention but a few. While some of these gender reforms (commonly promoted through women’s collective mobilisation) were successful, other legislative initiatives faced intense resistance. This paper compares three policy cases – the 1997 Universal Primary Education policy, the 1998 legislative reform around spousal co-ownership of land and the 2010 Domestic Violence Act. Drawing on feminist institutionalism, the paper explores how gender norms operate within institutions (both formal and informal) and how institutional processes construct, reproduce or challenge gender power dynamics in policy reforms. The paper examines the place of informal networks and raises critical questions regarding ways in which women emerge as critical actors in securing and consolidating gender change, the strategies they draw upon to negotiate resistance, and whether the nature of policy reform influences the kind of resistance and (in effect) counter-strategies used to negotiate resistance to gender change. We also assess the implications these legislative processes have for activism around gender equity reforms. Findings indicate creative ways through which women draw on informal networks and networking practices to influence gender equitable change, often revealing the micro, subtly gendered dynamics that animate success or failure of a particular policy reform. We argue that the nature of policy reform, e.g. gender status policies or doctrinal policies, determines the nature and process of policy adoption.
Working paper 133
Simeen Mahmud (with contributions from Nuzhat Sharmeen and Moogdho Mahzab)
This paper discusses the politics of maternal health in Bangladesh. It seeks to relate the paradoxical combination of weak governance and strong progress towards maternal mortality reduction to the nature of its political settlement. Typical of ‘competitive clientelist’ settlements, the effectiveness of maternal health policies tends to be diluted by ineffective coordination and poor discipline of public sector personnel. However, in Bangladesh, state ineffectiveness is at least partly alleviated by donor engagement, NGO and private provision, and pockets of state effectiveness – phenomena that can be traced to the historical origins of the Bangladeshi state.
Working paper 132
Between 1990 and 2009, the violent competition characteristic of Bangladeshi politics was tempered during elections through a system of caretaker government, which managed successfully to adjudicate between parties in a neutral manner. Since the system was repealed in 2011 however, elections have more closely resembled those seen previously under military rule. This paper examines the most recent election, the controversial 2018 landslide victory for the Awami League. Based on a multi-site analysis, we examine how the victory was achieved, reviewing the candidate nomination process, campaigns and election day itself. The ruling party’s success lies in efficient party management, with factionalism kept in check, an appealing vision of a developed and ‘digital’ Bangladesh and, most fundamentally, widespread coercion of political opposition using the apparatus of the state. The election articulates two key characteristics of contemporary Bangladeshi politics: state coercion and developmentalist ambitions.
Working paper 131
The proliferation of social cash transfers (SCTs) across much of Africa has resulted from interactions between international organisations – including both UN and related organisations, the donor agencies of governments in the global North, and international non-government organisations – and national governments. SCTs were central to the social protection agenda taken up by almost every international organisation since about 2000. In this paper we employ Tania Li’s framework on how development ideas travel, to understand the political economic context for the rising enthusiasm for SCTs, the ideational contestation over these, and the strategies of governmentality deployed to ‘render technical’ problems of poverty and vulnerability. Crucially, we show how international organisations developed diverse approaches to SCTs in terms of who should get what, how and why. Through a close analysis of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), we show that this process of policy transfer was shaped by the internal workings of the ‘aidworld’. In part because SCTs were subject to contestation within and between organisations, organisations tended to render political choices as technical ones. DFID was unusual in acknowledging that the process of introducing SCTs in any particular country was a political one, but even DFID viewed SCTs as a largely technical issue, limiting its efficacy in most African countries.