This briefing presents research into the effectiveness of India’s Basic Services for the Urban Poor (BSUP) programme. It examines the implementation of BSUP in five different Indian cities. Security of tenure, universalised services and institutionalised community participation are found to be key to successful inclusive urban development. These findings provide useful lessons for urban policy in India and elsewhere.
Working paper 55
Josephine Ahikire and Amon A. Mwiine
The paper looks at the ways in which power and politics shape the realisation of women’s rights and gender equity in Ugandan state policy adoption and implementation. The key question explored is around the nature of political power and its influence on gender policy incentives in terms of adoption and implementation. The argument is structured around the politics of recognition – recognition referring to what has been made possible in the form of gender-sensitive policy outcomes, the incentives for the different courses of action, and what influences the ability of the political system to channel women’s interests and representation into effective policy formulation and implementation. This question is explored by investigating the progress of two policy agendas, namely the Domestic Violence Act of 2010 and the promotion of girls’ education within the Universal Primary Education (UPE) policy instituted in 1997.
Working paper 54
Sam Hickey, Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai, Angelo Izama and Giles Mohan
The challenges facing developing countries with new-found natural resource wealth are generally understood in terms of whether they have the institutions of ‘good governance’ required to avoid the resource curse. New insights from a political settlements perspective show how deeper forms of politics and power relations play a more significant role than such institutions, and help explain some counter-intuitive findings regarding how ‘semi-authoritarian’ Uganda seems to be governing oil somewhat more in line with its national interest as compared to ‘democratic’ Ghana. We find that bureaucratic ‘pockets of effectiveness’ play a critical role, with outcomes shaped by the nature of their embedded autonomy vis-à-vis different kinds of ruling coalition. Efforts to promote ‘best-practice’ governance reforms in such contexts might be misplaced, and could be replaced with a stronger focus on building specific forms of state capacity and a greater acceptance that ‘developmental collusion’ between political and bureaucratic actors may offer more appropriate or ‘best-fit’ solutions.
Working paper 53
Robert Darko Osei, Charles Ackah, George Domfe and Michael Danquah
The paper explores the extent to which political settlements, and consequently the deals environment, have influenced the growth and development outcomes for Ghana. This is done using a conceptual framework which tries to demonstrate how political settlements and the deals environment help explain sustained economic growth. Some of the key findings are summarised as follows. First, the paper notes that political settlements in Ghana have been largely personalised over the years, with electoral competition becoming a feature of the last two decades. Second, it notes that the product space for Ghana has remained largely unchanged over the years, reinforcing the argument that growth has not been structurally transformative. Third, it argues that the deals space in Ghana is largely a product of the nature of the political settlement and this in turn has contributed to growth without structural transformation of the economy. The paper concludes by noting that Ghana finds itself in a position where change to its deals space, in a way that promotes sustained accelerated growth, will be difficult.
Working paper 52
The rise of the new Left has had an important impact on the politics of poverty reduction in Central America, upsetting the status quo for elites in the case of Honduras. After Hurricane Mitch in 1998, international pressure on elites to focus on poverty reduction had only a limited effect. But from 2006, the availability of aid and other resources from Venezuela facilitated a break with donor-sponsored agendas and heralded a new phase in the politics of poverty reduction. Then, in 2009, a coup against Liberal President Manuel Zelaya was precipitated by his ‘shift left’ whilst in office. This crisis unfastened the apparent stability and long-standing norms of Honduran political life. Drawing on recent fieldwork, this paper uses a political settlements approach to analyse the commitment and capacity to address social policy issues in Honduras through this period. The paper considers the significance and impact of external ideas on the changing distribution of power in society, and the implications for inclusive development.
Working paper 51
Brian Levy, Alan Hirsch and Ingrid Woolard
Has South Africa’s political settlement provided a constructive platform for successfully addressing the country’s deep-seated economic challenges in an inclusive way? Or is it increasingly consolidating as a settlement which is narrowly of and for elites (albeit in importantly different ways from its apartheid predecessor)? This paper addresses these questions, and reexamines the foundations of the democracy in an attempt to understand the obstacles to South Africa moving into a truly sustainable democracy. It provides a broad overview of South Africa’s evolving political settlement and the capability and commitment of the South African state (and the elites which underpin it) to deliver inclusive development. The political settlement analysis is anchored in a comparative assessment of evolving patterns of income distribution across countries and over time. The paper offers reflections on how the challenges going forward for South Africa might be addressed.
Working paper 50
This paper contributes to the empirical understanding of the concept of commitment and the role it plays in shaping India’s social policy implementation. Taking the case of the landmark policy, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the paper analyses in-depth qualitative information from four states – Chhatisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Assam. The paper examines the puzzle of differing outcomes in these four states, despite the same design and implementation mechanisms, through a political economy lens. It presents a nuanced and rich analysis of the characteristics of commitment that can be seen in different states, linking these to how they play out in shaping the implementation dynamics of MGNREGA from a comparative lens. The paper contributes to the existing body of literature on policy implementation and the role that commitment plays at the level of the sub-national state in delivering welfare policy in India.
Working Paper 46
In this paper, I direct attention to the role of class politics in shaping the outcomes of social protection interventions. I highlight the ways in which class politics is constituted by the interaction of class relations and the balance of substantive class power in a polity. I demonstrate the ways in which variations in class politics influence outcomes of a large social protection programme in India, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). In localities where either of the elite classes has successfully co-opted or eliminated the other, their stark contradictions against the interests of agricultural labourers result in them sabotaging the labour-friendly MGNREGA or implementing it half-heartedly. On the other hand, in localities characterised by an overarching framework of contest between the precarious classes and the entrenched classes, dominant class hostility to agricultural labourers is dissipated and labour-friendly programmes such as the MGNREGA have a chance of being implemented. However, the transformative aspect of the programme’s intent, in terms of dissolving the relations of power that bolster poverty, appears to be more in evidence in localities where emergent classes with precarious surpluses, together with agricultural labourers, challenge the influence of the entrenched classes. In these localities, the implementation of the programme, even where fraught with difficulties, contributes to dissolving hierarchical relations and establishing egalitarian ones.
Working Paper 49
Giles Mohan and Kojo Pumpuni Asante
Ghana’s recent status as an oil producer focuses attention on the relationship between domestic politics and transnational actors. While the political settlements literature is useful for focusing on how elite coalitions shape the governance of natural resources, it is not explicit about the role of transnational factors in shaping and enabling these coalitions. As such there is a tendency to downplay the significance of transnational-national interactions and national-local dynamics. This paper analyses the changing nature of the political settlement in Ghana pre- and post-oil and the role that transnational actors play in reshaping the coalitions which underpin and reproduce the overall settlement. We find that the discovery of oil has not radically altered the nature of Ghana’s political settlement, which remains of a competitive clientelist form within which institutional functioning and policy actors are heavily influenced by the need of political elites to secure success in increasingly tightly-fought elections. These tendencies and the ongoing structural inequalities between transnational capital and the sovereign state have resulted in oil licences being negotiated on terms favouring external actors. Through primary data collected from key informant interviews and case studies we show that power lies with the external actors albeit through the elite brokerage of contracts. Within these bargaining processes we see parts of the Ghanaian state acting strongly and effectively to serve both the interests of domestic elites and transnational capital. The combined effect of competitive clientelism and new sources of foreign capital is that structural issues and longer term planning decisions are largely deprioritised in favour of shorter-term gains.