Researching the politics of development



Governance as a Global Development Goal?

25 March 2014.
There is increasing recognition that governance matters, to the point of considering it a desirable global development goal in its own right. In the latest ESID working paper – Governance as a Global Development Goal?David Hulme, Antonio Savoia and Kunal Sen explore the possibility of setting and monitoring governance goals for the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
After assessing existing cross-national measures on governance quality, they argue that, in the long run, measuring and monitoring governance quality may require reconceptualising “good governance” and designing internationally shared measures that are routinely provided by national statistical offices.
Here are some excerpts:

The idea of “good governance” can be a highly controversial one and risks neglecting the centrality of context to effective institutional reform. Hence, existing measures, while offering a quick solution for the Post-2015 Development Agenda, may not reflect a “politically shared” notion of governance quality.
Our task requires assessing how, and how well, existing databases and measures capture governance quality; which aspects they measure; what and how robust their methodologies are. We examine the trends for measures of legal, bureaucratic and administrative quality, assessing to what extent such measures can be used, in terms of both political acceptability and statistical desirability.
Changes in the quality of governance and legal structure and property rights are relatively slow. Changes in governance quality originate from institutional changes. These are long-run phenomena that are best monitored with relatively low frequency data.
It will be important for those engaged in improving governance to think both short term and long term about setting, measuring and monitoring governance goals/targets.
Policy-makers need to think about how the selection of goals/targets for the Post-2015 Agenda can foster the institutionalisation (measures, methods, standards, training, professional accreditation) of high quality governance statistics at national and international levels.

Read the entire paper: