Working paper 88
This paper’s objective is to provide a better understanding of the politics underpinning core public sector reforms (PSR) in Rwanda. It analyses five core public sector functions: government coordination; public finance management (focusing on budgeting and public procurement); civil service management; external audit; and anti-corruption policies. For each, it identifies the origins of reforms and analyses to what extent they led to change in both rules and practice. Overall, the paper argues that PSR has been successful and so strongly embraced because rulers considered an effective public sector as a crucial tool for their legitimation strategy, which was based on achieving rapid socio-economic progress and projecting an image of impartiality.
Working paper 87
This paper discusses the role of Kenya’s political settlement in the adoption and promotion of social protection, which has expanded significantly since 2003. Analysis focuses on the interplay between the domestic political settlement and external factors in shaping the social protection discourse and policy and provisioning outcomes.
Successive regimes in Kenya since 2003 supported social protection as part of their framing of the development discourse. There has been significant progress in developing the legislative and policy structures to support cash transfer provision, including a commitment in the 2010 constitution, together with an increasing fiscal commitment, largely donor supported, and a rapid expansion of cash transfer coverage. However, where the realisation of constitutional or legislative commitments would have a cost to the political settlement, disturbing clientelist relationships, less progress has taken place, as illustrated by the failure of the proposed National Social Health Insurance Fund. Implementation of social protection policy and provision has been managed in such a way that the clientelism at the centre of the political settlement is not disturbed.
The extent to which the political settlement ultimately shapes social protection outcomes is also a function of the preferences and incentives of the donor community and it is the convergence of the requirements of the political settlement with donor interests that has driven the successful provision of social assistance, whereas the lack of convergence has hindered the development of social health insurance. Initially a donor-led agenda, cash transfer provision has become increasingly popular politically, as politicians have realised its potential as an additional constituency-level patronage resource, which they have successfully co-opted in recent years, resulting in the paradox that improved, and largely externally financed, social protection performance is intrinsically linked to the entrenchment of the existing political settlement.
The paper concludes that the social protection agenda in Kenya is defined by the extent of accommodation between the underlying clientelist interests of political actors and the aspirations of external actors.
Working paper 86
Why has Bangladesh failed to raise quality in basic education when it successfully expanded school provision? This paper explores this problem through analysis of the influence of the political settlement on the design and delivery of the third Primary Education Development Programme (PEDP3), an US$8bn education reform plan. From document review, key informant interviews and comparative case study analysis of teacher motivations and performance, it concludes that the elite consensus on the need for basic mass education runs out when it comes to raising education standards: teachers are politically important, so reforms are more carrot than stick – in the form of training, increments, new entitlements. The centralised administration and its weak incentives to enforce unpopular reforms ensure discretion at the frontline/school level, so teacher performance depends ultimately on their inherent motivations. But the past generation has seen these motivations decline with the changing sociology of the teaching profession: teachers are less respected, relatively less well-paid and more often women (who have lower social status and more demands on their time), while the average public school pupil is ‘harder to reach and harder to teach’. Education quality is improving, but incrementally, in line with a political economy that has generated positive incentives for teachers, without holding them more accountable for their performance.
Working paper 85
The Ugandan state presents an interesting puzzle for the advocates of public sector reforms (PSRs). Whereas it has been subjected to several waves of reforms over the last three decades, these changed form but have generally not translated into significant changes in the functionality of central government. This research argues that answers to this conundrum are rooted in the country’s political settlement. Drawing on ESID’s expanded political settlement framework, the study finds that the last 15 years have seen Uganda’s ruling elite exposed to unprecedented internal and external competition leading to a shift in the balance of power from dominant to vulnerable dominant political settlement. Although the president still wields significant power, this has been used to influence government agencies to meet the short-term needs for regime maintenance, as opposed to supporting the goals of PSR implementation. Almost all PSRs are donor driven and the government accepts them not so much as a development necessity, but mainly because they are accompanied by unearned resources that are easily diverted into oiling patronage networks that maintain the elite in government.
Working paper 84
Brian Levy and Lawule Shumane
This paper explores governance dynamics in four case study schools in low-income communities in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. A main aim is to identify empirically the causal mechanisms through which horizontal, school-level governance might function as an ‘institutional substitute’ for weaknesses in the province’s education bureaucracy. The case studies uncovered both vicious circles of capture, and virtuous spirals – with the latter characterised by shared developmental commitment among school leaders, teachers, parents and the community, strong enough to counter efforts at predation. The findings offer encouragement that non-hierarchical entry points for improving educational outcomes indeed have some potential to achieve gains.
Working paper 83
Zukiswa Kota, Monica Hendricks, Eric Matambo and Vinothan Naidoo
The Eastern Cape province experienced extensive governmental re-organisation following South Africa’s 1994 democratic transition. This entailed significant structural consolidation in the provincial government, and the integration of a disparate set of political and administrative actors under the stewardship of the African National Congress (ANC). This process has had a profound effect on the province’s capacity to shape and implement policy, especially in institutionally fragmented sectors such as basic education. Employing the political settlements framework to characterise the province’s governance transformation, we describe how historical patterns of clientelism were transplanted into a post-apartheid political and administrative settlement, resulting in considerable intra-party cleavages amongst the political elite and impeding the growth of a rule-compliant, insulated and performance-driven bureaucracy. This has been particularly acute in the education sector, which has seen chronic leadership instability, politicisation and financial mismanagement, and which has compromised the cohesion and integrity of provincial school oversight and policy management.
Working paper 77
Denise Humphreys Bebbington and Celina Grisi Huber
This paper forms part of a project investigating the relationships between political settlements and natural resource governance over the longue durée in four countries in Latin America and Africa. Specifically, it examines this relationship for the governance of minerals and hydrocarbons in Bolivia. This paper makes the following arguments. As a poor country with a relatively weak central state, Bolivia’s natural resources have served as a ‘mechanism of trade’ mobilised by competing interest groups to build coalitions in support of their particular projects and to secure the acquiescence of those who might contest their projects. In this way, natural resources are used to create political pacts and negotiate political settlements in which a dominant actor attempts to win over the opposition of those resistant to a particular vision of development and/or governance. These pacts and settlements are revisited constantly, reflecting the weak and fragmented power of the central state and of the elite, as well as persistent tensions between national and subnational elites. There have been short periods of settlement – in particular the early 20th century, when the so-called ‘tin barons’ were especially strong and excluded sectors (labour, peasantry, indigenous people) were weak; and the contemporary period, in which social movements and their dominant party are strong. However, the more general pattern has been one of instability, reflecting the relatively short-lived capacity of one or another actor for strategic collective action. Ideas about, and modes of, natural resource governance have been central to periods of instability and stability alike, and to significant periods of rupture in Bolivian politics. For example, mining and miners were central to the 1952 revolution and the following 12 years of the National Revolutionary Movement (MNR) government; natural gas, water and notions of resource nationalism were at the core of the 2005 election of the Movement to Socialism (MAS) government of Evo Morales.
The period since 2006 has been characterised by a stable settlement revolving around an alliance between MAS, national social movements and two iconic, dominant leaders in the forms of the president and vice-president. This settlement is also sustained through bargains with parts of the traditional economic elite and those subnational actors able to exercise sufficient power to extract concessions from the main parties to the settlement. In addition, particular interpretations of prior forms of natural resource governance have produced ideas about historical dependency and exploitation that are themselves constitutive of the settlement that the MAS has built (ideas that also circulated in earlier periods of resource nationalism).
Working paper 81
This paper synthesises findings from research in Bolivia, Ghana, Peru and Zambia to address the following three questions: 1) How does the nature of political settlements affect the governance of the mining and hydrocarbon sectors and the relationships between those sectors and patterns of social inclusion and exclusion? 2) How do the circulation of ideas and the materiality of the resources in question affect this relationship? 3) What is the role of transnational ideational, institutional and political economic factors in these relationships? These questions are approached by considering the relationships between political settlements and extractive industry since the late 19th century, with special emphasis on the last three decades. The paper concludes that the nature of settlements has had important implications for the relationships between resource-dependent economies and the nature and degree of social inclusion, but far less effect on productive structure, with no political settlement having particular success in fostering economic diversification or reducing the weight of resource rents within the national economy. The paper also concludes that the very nature of the extractive economy influences the dynamics of national political settlements for the following reasons. First, the potential rents that resource extraction makes possible, and the high cost of engaging in mining or hydrocarbon industries, create incentives for particular forms of political exclusion. Second, colonial and post-colonial histories of resource extraction give political valence to ideas that have helped mobilise actors in ways that change relations of power and institutional arrangements. Third, the materiality of subsoil resources has direct implications for subnational forms of holding power that can influence resource access and control. Finally, the global nature of mineral and hydrocarbon economies, combined with the materiality of resources, bring both transnational and local political actors into the constitution of national political settlements. This makes for a particularly complex politics of scale surrounding settlements in resource-dependent economies.
Working paper 78
This paper offers a political economy explanation to the question of why over 100 years of mineral resource extraction in Ghana has failed to translate into broad-based development. It does so through the lens of political settlements, which draws attention to how relations of power and ideas shape elite commitment to allocating mineral resources towards long-term development goals. The analysis draws attention to how clientelist political pressures engendered by Ghana’s highly competitive electoral system have historically underpinned the diversion of mineral revenues towards shorter-term goals of maintaining the stability of ruling coalitions. In particular, all ruling coalitions have allocated significant shares of mineral rents to chiefs not necessarily for the socio-economic development of their communities, but mainly because political elites want to avoid provoking resistance from a group in society that brokers land and votes in rural areas. These findings challenge recent suggestions concerning the centrality of inclusive political settlements for the effective management of mineral rents. As the analyses reveal, broad-based elite inclusion can also carry the danger of undermining the effective management of rents for long-term development if mineral rents are deployed with the aim of ’buying-off‘ elites who can potentially undermine the stability of ruling coalitions. Under such circumstances, inclusive political settlements may at best result in unproductive peace, as substantial mineral resources are shared for consumption rather than development.